Thursday, November 29, 2012
A Fulton man with a heart condition charges that a doctor at Callaway Community Hospital violated federal law by denying him treatment in the hospital’s emergency room last week.
James Vahlvick, 35, said he is considering legal action against Dr. Ricci Porter. Vahlvick took an ambulance to CCH shortly after midnight Nov. 25 complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing. He said that upon arrival, Porter entered the ambulance and told EMS that there was nothing he could do for Vahlvick’s condition.
“I’ve been to Callaway... because it’s the only hospital in this town and I have a severe illness,” Vahlvick said. “I have a disease and it’s the only place I can turn to, and it’s the only place I can trust.
“They’ve never turned me down before; they’ve always helped me, but they refused to even help me out of the ambulance.”
Vahlvick said the story actually began earlier in the past week. He had been to the ER at CCH multiple times over a period of several days for chest pains and shortness of breath. Vahlvick had been seeing a heart specialist in Mexico for about six months who after diagnosed Vahlvick with sinus tachycardia, a condition characterized by an elevated heart rhythm greater than 100 beats per minute.
Vahlvick also has a history of anxiety attacks, which he said doctors had told him had been the cause of his perceived pain. He said that on the morning of Nov. 24 he had made a trip to the ER with more pain in his chest. At that time, Porter diagnosed him with pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest leading to sharp pains when breathing or coughing.