Chincoteague Landowner Suing Eastern Shore Rural Health Over Infection


By Linda Cicoira — A Chincoteague landowner blames Eastern Shore Rural Health for the serious infection he got in his left leg after he says the agency’s Chincoteague Island Community Health Center on Main Street failed to adequately treat him.

James Meyerhoffer, 49, of Lafayette Avenue in Richmond, Va., is asking for $500,000 in damages, according to court documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va. The plaintiff said he went to the center after falling on a bamboo stalk while doing yard work at his island house on May 19. 2017. 

Meyerhoffer stated he was unable to remove all the debris from the wound and went to the center that day where Chad Muntzinger, a physician’s assistant, examined him and treated him.

Two days later, “Meyerhoffer began to experience heat, redness, swelling, and pain in and around the wound site” and the wound was draining. He went to the emergency room at Parham Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond where another PA took out the sutures, started IV antibiotics, obtained a wound culture, flushed the wound, and examined the cultures, which showed bacteria that is found in soil.

The patient was admitted to the hospital where he stayed for eight days, had surgery that found “necrosis,” a form of cell injury that results in the premature death of cells in living tissue, had tissue and muscle removed from his leg, had an open wound for three days, had more IV antibiotics, was fitted for a wound vac, and required home health care for assistance.

The court documents state the legal action is founded on the Federal Tort Claims Act. “At all times relevant to this action, Eastern Shore Rural Health System Inc. was a grant-supported Federally Qualified Health Center pursuant to the Public Health Service Act.”

Meyerhoffer complained Muntzinger failed to adequately irrigate a deep penetrating wound involving foreign vegetative matter, failed to perform wound exploration to ensure it was free of foreign debris, failed to order and/or perform imaging studies, sutured a deep penetrating wound with a foreign body present,  closed a deep penetrating wound with high risk of infection, failed to prescribe an adequate antibiotic regimen, and failed to comply generally with the standard of care. Meyerhoffer said he sustained severe and permanent injuries and has suffered and will continue to suffer physical and mental pain and suffering as a result of these injuries. The patient said he incurred and will continue to incur expenses for medical, hospital, and doctors’ bills in an effort to be cured and relieved. He also complained of lost wages.

No court date was set. Rural health has not yet answered to the allegations.

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