Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Alabama State Senator Larry Stutts sued for malpractice… again

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alabama State Senator Larry Stutts has once again been named in another malpractice lawsuit in which a patient of his retained placental tissue, and suffered excessive bleeding following delivery of her baby.

The new case is oddly reminiscent of an older case in which Stutts was named defendant, in which his patient retained placental tissue and suffered excessive bleeding, and later died. The new case’s Plaintiff, Greta C. Cooper, did not die.

Read the PDF file of the 2015 Lawsuit against state Sen Larry Stutts

The suit alleges, among other things, that Stutts failed to order powerful antibiotics to be administered EXCLUSIVELY by Licensed Professional Nurses, and that two RNs with Gentiva Home Health Services in Russellville, Alabama, then taught the Plaintiff’s husband how to administer the medication, and that as a result of his failure to properly order, blood levels of the medication were also not taken which resulted in overdose toxicity.

Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD (R), who was first a veterinarian, then became an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OBGYN), upset 32-year veteran Alabama Senate District 6 State Senator Roger Bedford (D) by 67 votes in the 2014 November General Election. Stutts is also president of Colbert Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC (his private medical practice), located at 1120 S Jackson Hwy #104, Sheffield, AL 35660, (256) 386-0855.

Alabama District 6 State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD

Alabama District 6 State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD

Alabama State Senate District 6 encompasses all of Franklin County, and portions of Colbert, Marion, Lauderdale and Lawrence Counties in NW Alabama.

Interestingly, Sutts wasn’t the GOP’s original candidate for the Senate District 6 race. Jerry Mays was the original GOP candidate, but dropped out of the primary. In response to Mays’ decision, on March 20, 2014, State Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead announced that the Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee had met and named Larry Stutts, who resides in Tuscumbia, to replace Mays candidacy. Stutts had never been in any elected political office.

Stutts is the same physician who was years earlier named in another lawsuit in which his patient Rose Church – a newlywed, and healthy 36-year-old Registered Nurse – died, which in turn, triggered the late patient’s husband (who happened to be an attorney) to research Alabama & Federal law and write proposed legislation requiring OBGYNs practicing in the state to order a simple blood test, and wait 48 hours following childbirth before discharging them from hospital. The bill which was unopposed by the state’s largest insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, was sponsored in the Senate by Roger Bedford (D, Russellville), and in the House by Mike Millican (D, Hamilton), passed the House 96-0, and Senate 34-0, unanimously without opposition in bipartisan fashion, was signed into law by then-governor Don Siegleman (D), and became known as “Rose’s Law.”

Tuscaloosa News story May 12, 1999 about “Rose’s Law.”

As a newly-elected Alabama State Senator, the very first piece of legislation Stutts sponsored was SB289, which would have repealed two health-related laws, both sponsored by Bedford: Sections 22-13-71 and 27-48-2 of the Code of Alabama 1975, which established “insurance maternity coverage for inpatient hospital care for certain minimum amounts of time for a mother and her newborn child” and “notification requirements when dense breast tissue is found during a mammogram.” The state law requires insurers to pay for hospitals stays for mothers at least 48 hours after they delivered their newborns vaginally, and 96 hours if by C-section, places state law in harmony with Federal law (Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996), and has nothing to do with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (sometimes called the ACA or colloquially as “ObamaCare”).

Stutts deceived his Senate colleagues who signed onto his bill as co-sponsors (Sens. Paul Bussman, Bill Hightower, Tim Melson, Jim McClendon, Rusty Glover, and Jabo Waggoner), and others, by claiming his bill was an effort to roll back “Obamacare-style laws from the books in Alabama,” and on his Facebook page wrote: “Just a few months on the job, I am proud to say that I am hard at work removing one-size-fits-all Obamacare-style laws from the books in Alabama. However, some in the media and elsewhere are attempting to deceive citizens by using tired liberal arguments and falsehoods.”

The “dense breast tissue mammogram notification” law is also special to Bedford, who worked with the Medical Association of the State of Alabama to write the bill because his wife Maudie Darby had been diagnosed with dense breast tissue which hid her breast cancer, and was not informed about her breast cancer until it had advanced.

Stutts almost immediately withdrew his bill when news of it quickly went viral, and was covered by practically every major news outlet throughout the United States – and denied that his bill to repeal those two laws had anything to do with his practice. His denial, and a notice of his withdrawing that bill may be found on his Senate Facebook page.

Alabama senator sued for negligence in childbirth case
By Paul Gattis | PGattis@al.com
Follow on Twitter @paul_gattis
Posted June 12, 2015 at 12:44 PM
Updated June 12, 2015 at 12:45 PM

An Alabama state senator has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed Friday that stemmed from complications suffered by a woman following childbirth in 2013, according to court records.

Dr. Larry Stutts, an obstetrician-gynecologist who defeated Roger Bedford to win the District 6 seat in northwest Alabama, is joined as defendants in the suit by Gentiva Health Services Inc., as well as two nurses.

Stutts, R-Sheffield, is accused of negligence in the lawsuit because the plaintiff, Greta Cooper, did not receive adequate care in wake of delivering a child in July 2013 at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield. Cooper and her husband, Matt Cooper, filed the suit in Franklin County Circuit Court.

Stutts came under fire during his freshman legislative session earlier this year for seeking to repeal two state laws mandating standards for health care for women. One of the laws Stutts sought to overturn requires insurers to provide at least 48 hours of hospitalization for women following childbirth.

The 1999 law was named for Rose Church — Rose’s Law – a patient of Stutts who died the previous year after complications from childbirth. Stutts did not disclose to fellow lawmakers that he had treated Church and had been sued by the family for malpractice.

A day after AL.com in March reported Stutts’ proposed legislation to repeal the mandatory insurance law named for his former patient, Stutts withdrew it. He issued a statement at the time, saying that his legislation was not related to any patient case in his medical career.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday, Greta Cooper sustained a retained placenta with post-partum hemorrhage and infection following the birth of her son.

As a result of her negligent treatment, Cooper suffered toxicity from the medicine, severe problems with her balance, blurry vision, bilateral peripheral vestibular system weakness and impairment, severe pain and mental anguish, according to the lawsuit. She also suffered impairment in her employment and lost wages, the lawsuit said, and she was permanently injured and damaged.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

AL.com reporter Kyle Whitmire () contributed to this report.

North Alabama senator sued for medical malpractice
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 12:11 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 12, 2015 3:49 PM EDT
By Marshall Stephens

FRANKLIN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) – An Alabama state senator is being sued for medical malpractice by a Shoals woman he treated in 2013.

Court documents filed Friday in Franklin County circuit court indicate that Dr. Larry Stutts, the senator for Alabama’s sixth district, was caring for the woman when her labor was induced in July 2013. Delivery complications led to a MRSA infection, and she was placed on a treatment regimen.

According to the documents, Stutts ordered an IV tube (a PICC line) be placed in the woman so Gentiva Health Services could administer drugs after she went home. Stutts prescribed two antibiotics, Gentamicin and Cefotan, and ordered the home health company, based in Russellville, to administer them.

Gentiva Health Services, which is also named in the lawsuit, allegedly taught the patient’s husband how to administer the antibiotics and had him do it, rather than a skilled nurse, as originally ordered by Stutts.

The lawsuit goes on to say that no testing for Gentamicin levels was ever performed for the woman the entire time Gentiva was involved in her home care. As a result, the lawsuit alleges she suffered from Gentamicin toxicity, which caused her to suffer “severe pain and mental anguish” and required extensive medical evaluation and treatment. The lawsuit also says the woman was permanently injured and damaged.

Documents say that Stutts “negligently caused or negligently allowed” Gentiva to not be ordered or instructed to properly administer the antibiotic treatment by skilled nurses only. The lawsuit also states that Stutts didn’t ensure that testing for safe Gentamicin levels was done. This lack of testing, the lawsuit says, caused the woman’s injuries and damage.

Stutts was elected to the Alabama state senate in November 2014. He proposed a maternity stay bill in March 2015. Senate Bill 289 would repeal a code that says insurance must cover a minimum stay of 48 hours in the hospital after a woman gives birth (96 hours for cesarean births). The bill was later withdrawn by Stutts.

One of the laws Stutts was pushing to repeal was named for a patient, Rose Church, who died in his care. Court records indicate Stutts as the doctor in a wrongful death suit filed by the woman’s husband. That suit was ultimately settled out of court.

After her death, her husband, Gene Church, pushed for a new law which came to be called “Rose’s Law.”

The current law creates shared responsibility for the patient and doctor if the new mother wishes to be released early. This means the doctor must inform the woman of advantages and disadvantages of an early discharge.

We have reached out to Senator Stutts’ office for comment.

Family still concerned about future of Rose’s Law
By Bernie Delinski, Staff Writer
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 12:00 am
MUSCLE SHOALS — Family members of the namesake of a law that sets a minimum postpartum hospital stay and a blood work requirement fear a bill to repeal the law is not dead.

Speakers at a Monday night public meeting also said they believe the effort by state Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, to repeal the law is personal.

Gene Church, a former Haleyville resident who now lives in Pensacola, Florida, said it sickened him to learn Stutts tried to repeal the bill that was named for his deceased wife, Rose Church.

“It was like a punch in the gut,” Gene Church said. “I drew one conclusion, and that is that this is personal.”

State Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, said the bill, Senate Bill 289, remained listed Monday as pending committee action, although Stutts, its sponsor, said he would back off plans to pursue it.

“You can be sure that we’ll see it again at a future date,” Morrow said. “That’s the reason we’re having this meeting. It could be voted out of committee tomorrow and move to the Senate floor.”

Morrow, who has been outspoken about his opposition, introduced several members of the family of Rose Church, the namesake of the 1999 law dubbed Rose’s Law. They included Gene Church, who talked about carrying the couple’s then-newborn daughter, Logan Church, and a diaper bag through the halls of the Statehouse to urge legislators to make a change in postpartum care requirements after his wife’s death. Rose Church died 10 days after giving birth in 1998.

Stutts, an obstetrician, was Rose Church’s physician.

Stutts said March 31 he was withdrawing the bill after “careful consideration and feedback from my constituents.”

“My sole intention with Senate Bill 289 was to re-center health care decisions between a patient and her doctor by limiting government mandates,” Stutts said in a statement. “Let me also say that neither the bill nor today’s decision is related to any patient case I have had in my medical career, despite media insinuations to the contrary.”

Gene Church filed a malpractice lawsuit against Stutts after his wife’s death. He said the suit was settled under confidential terms.

Gene Church said his wife was discharged from the hospital 36 hours after giving birth. She returned because of extensive blood loss and was in congestive heart failure. She was discharged, then later had a heart attack and died in an ambulance on the way to a Birmingham hospital.

It later was determined that an 11-centimeter section of placenta tissue was left in her uterus after birth that caused the excessive blood loss.

Federal law prohibits health insurance companies from restricting postpartum hospital stays for new mothers and their infants to fewer than 48 hours after normal vaginal deliveries or 96 hours after a C-section.

Rose’s Law also requires a doctor to provide a written summary of the advantages and disadvantages of early discharge and get the mother’s approval in writing for an early discharge.

“So the law changed it so that it was not the doctor making the discharge decision,” Gene Church said. “It was the patient.”

The law also requires particular bloodwork before hospital discharge.

Stutts’ bill also would remove a state requirement for women to be notified after a mammogram if they have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

That hit home for Maudie Bedford, a breast cancer survivor who had to convince doctors to send her through additional tests after it was discovered she had dense tissue. Her husband, then-Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, sponsored the bill that required doctors to notify women when they are diagnosed with dense breast tissue.

Stutts defeated Bedford in 2014 for the senate race. Maudie Bedford said Monday she believes Stutts’ attempt to remove that portion of the law was personal.

“This is a law that take away a woman’s right to know and a woman’s right to choose,” she said. “It would take away two laws that are saving women’s lives every day.”

The Church family, who said they are Republicans, said they want Stutts to remove the bill. Logan Church, now 16, said it is important the existing laws remain in place.

“I don’t think the health of a woman should be decided by a Republican or a Democrat,” she said. “All these laws are trying to do is protect women.”

Bernie Delinski can be reached at (256) 740-5739 or Bernie.Delinski@TimesDaily.com.
Follow on Twitter @TD_BDelinski.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: