Granite City woman files med mal suit against Petrovich

Ann Knef Jan. 31, 2006, 5:23am

Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City

Beverley Bennett of Granite City is suing surgeon John A. Petrovich, M.D. claiming his "chronic consumption of illegal drugs and/or alcohol" caused her to sustain severe and permanent injuries.

The lawsuit filed Jan. 26 in Madison County Circuit Court also names Gateway Regional Medical Center as a co-defendant.

Bennett claims she suffered internal and external injuries and only specifies severe shortness of breath. The complaint states that she was under Petrovich's care from October 2002 until February 2004 and received "multiple and various" surgeries at Gateway during that time period.

"...Defendant John A. Petrovich, M.D., did then and there engage in a continuous course of negligent treatment of the Plaintiff
Beverley Bennett...," the complaint states.

Petrovich 46, pled guilty in July 2005 to one felony charge of health care fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Petrovich admitted that he knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud a health care benefit program, namely the Illinois Medicaid program, and that his scheme was in connection with the delivery of or payment for health care benefits, items, or services, namely prescription drugs.

According to Bennett's suit, she had to undergo subsequent treatment to repair damage caused by Petrovich.

Bennett's husband Norman Bennett also is seeking damages for loss of consortion. They are represented by attorney John J. Hopkins of Edwardsville.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Don Weber.

Since 2000, Petrovich has been named in 20 medical malpractice lawsuits in Madison County. In a related matter, Jan Fuhler filed a Whistle Blower suit against Granite City Hospital in 2004 claiming she was fired after alleging that Petrovich was using cocaine.

Petrovich faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, and up to three years of supervised release.

According to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office, Petrovich admitted that he rented a hotel room in Caseyville on April 16, 2004, where he was visited by a female who received Medicaid benefits.

Petrovich admitted the purpose of the visit was not to receive medical treatment, but he prescribed anti-anxiety and pain relief medication for her and others solely for recreational use.

"Petrovich knew and understood that the Illinois Medicaid program would not pay for prescription drugs under those circumstances, and at times even told the beneficiary to pay cash rather than using Medicaid," the statement states.


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