An article in the Charleston Daily Mail covers the beginning of a trial against the former Putnam General Hospital.

Dr. John L. King practiced at Putnam General for about six months and is now at the center of about 122 medical malpractice lawsuits, from Putnam General and other hospitals where he practiced. However, this trial deals with whether or not the hospital can be included in the trial due to the fact that they granted King temporary credentials.

The former patients or their survivors claim that the hospital overlooked many red flags about King when they granted his credentials. The lawyer for Putnam General claims that the hospital followed a seven-step screening process before granting his credentials. The hospital in their investigations found that King was licenses and in good standing in none other states, he was insured and former colleagues and professors spoke highly of him. What they didn’t find out was that he was suspended from an Alabama hospital in 1989, he abruptly left several other hospitals and did not complete internships. The hospital was also unaware of at least five pending malpractice claims against King as well as his 1999 arrest for removing log books from a Florida hospital.

The hospital at that time was owned by HCA, Inc. but sold the hospital last year to Charleston Area Medical Center, which renamed the hospital CAMC Teays Valley. King surrendered his West Virginia medical license and left that state after Putnam General suspended his privileges in 2003. He returned to the Alabama area and changed his name to Christopher Wallace Martin.

What do you think? Do you think the hospital should be held liable to credentialing a doctor whose track record had previously been so poor? What lengths should a hospital go to to research the past of doctors applying to their hospital? Please feel free to leave your comments.

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