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Man's suit alleges negligent treatment

September 29, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A Hagerstown man is suing his doctor and the Washington County Hospital Association alleging that negligent treatment caused permanent and irreversible dizziness.

Joseph Hoffman, 47, of East North Avenue, was given an antibiotic drug called gentamicin for about three months while Dr. Massoud Alizadeh was treating him for a foot infection, according to information in a lawsuit filed in Washington County Circuit Court.

Although Hoffman complained of dizziness, Alizadeh did not stop the treatment and did not tell Hoffman of the possible side effects, the suit alleges.

The suit, which does not specify a damage amount, also names Home Health Care of the Washington County Hospital.

Maureen Theriault, a spokeswoman for the hospital system, declined to comment because the case is in litigation.

Alizadeh declined to comment Wednesday.

According to the suit, Hoffman was admitted to Washington County Hospital on Feb. 7, 1997, for osteomyelitis and cellulitis of the left foot.

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Alizadeh treated him with daily doses of intravenous gentamicin, according to the suit. Although Hoffman complained of dizziness, Alizadeh discharged him from the hospital on March 3 with instructions to continue the daily doses under the care of a Home Health Care nurse, the suit said.

At a follow-up visit to Alizadeh's office on March 14, Hoffman complained that his head felt like "Jell-O," the suit alleges.

Alizadeh and Home Health Care employees continued the antibiotic treatments through May 8, the suit said.

Hoffman's dizziness continued even after the antibiotic treatments were stopped, according to the suit.

The suit said Hoffman underwent physical therapy but that it was unsuccessful.

Before he developed the dizziness, Hoffman worked as a sales manager for Home Mutual Insurance Co. in Hagerstown. He has left that job and has been declared permanently and totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, Lloyd A. Sarro, Hoffman's attorney, alleged.

"When I walk, I walk like I'm drunk," Hoffman said. "It's like I'm 60, 70 years of age."

Hoffman's wife, Mary Lee Hoffman, also is a party to the suit because the condition has disrupted the couple's marital relations, the suit alleges.

"Part of my life is shot...," Hoffman said. "I can't even ride a bicycle anymore. Simple things are gone."

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