A very interesting lawsuit is moving through the system in Roanoke, Virginia. The case, filed on behalf of Ronald Burchett, initially started out as a fairly routine medical malpractice case. The suit alleged that Burchett was admitted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in March 2008. He was septic, had severely low blood pressure and was suffering from respiratory failure. Ultimately it was determined that he had acute colonic pseudo-obstruction, a condition in which the colon dilates significantly, and Burchett’s colon burst. A gastroenterologist was not initially called to examine Burchett.

However the nature of the suit has changed as Burchett now alleges that a gastroenterologist was not called due to Carilion’s “leakage policy.” The suit alleges that Carilion failed to call in a gastroenenterologist because it offers a financial incentive to its physicians to keep referrals within the Carilion network of doctors. Of course, Carilion denies that making money influences any of its treatment decisions.

This case will be interesting to follow and I hope the Roanoke Times continues to provide detailed coverage and analysis of the case. However, my bet is that Carilion settles the case and seals the lawsuit from inquiring eyes.

Wonder if any of these other hospitals in Western Virginia have similar “leakage” policies:

Lewis-Gale Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County, Danville Regional Medical Center, StonewallJackson Hospital, Carilion New River Valley Hospital, Montgomery Regional Hospital, Wellmont Bristol Regional Hospital, Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital, Alleghany Regional Hospital, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, and Tazewell Community Hospital

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at