The state medical board has reprimanded and fined a physician at Liberty Regional Medical Center in connection with the 2004 case in which a 40-year-old woman died while awaiting discharge.
Dr. James S. Snow signed a September public consent order of the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners that says the patient, identified only as E.T., came to the LRMC emergency room on Jan. 10, 2004, complaining of pain that she described as “elephant sitting on chest.”
Snow ordered standard lab work, a chest X-ray and an EKG.
The patient appeared to be improving, but then “experienced ventricular fibrillation” and died despite attempts to resuscitate her.
A board-appointed peer reviewer found that Snow’s actions failed to conform to minimum standards, both as to diagnosis and to treatment.
The board and Snow agreed that he would be fined $5,000 and complete 15 hours of additional continuing medical education.
Snow will also pay $400 to the board as a reimbursement of administrative fees and agree that the consent order will be placed on his physician profile.
Efforts to reach Snow, LRMC chief Scott Kroell, and Hospital Authority Chairman Jon Long had not been successful through Saturday. The hospital’s public relations officer, Rene Harwell, sent an email saying, “We have not been notified of this situation. We suggest you contact Dr. Snow.”
A spokesman for the state medical board explained that the agency does not send notifications to hospitals and that the action is a public record, displayed on their website — www.state.ga.us/meb — and listed in Snow’s physician profile.
The board maintains online profiles for physicians and other health care professionals.
The physicians’ profiles show the licenses, education, training, specializations, hospital privileges and similar information. Also included are criminal offenses, medical malpractice awards and disciplinary actions.
In addition to the September consent order, Snow’s profile shows a $750,000 malpractice settlement dated May 29, 2007. The board notes that such settlements may occur for a variety of reasons that do not necessarily reflect negatively on the professional competence or conduct of the physician.
“A payment in settlement of a medical malpractice action or claim should not be construed as creating a presumption that medical malpractice has occurred,” the website says.