Earnshaw faces mounting legal troubles

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 7, 2006, 5:56pm

Tom Lakin represented Earnshaw in wrongful death suit

Bethalto internist Charles Earnshaw, M.D. is facing a load of legal troubles, not the least of which is a Dec. 11 DUI hearing before Madison County Associate Circuit Judge Janet Heflin.

Earnshaw's medical license was pulled this week by the state Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) for allegedly giving three patients prescriptions without examining them. He also is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with two of those patients.

On Nov. 30, agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency executed a federal search warrant in Earnshaw's office.

A spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Randy Massey declined to comment on what agents were searching for in Earnshaw's office.

Earnshaw awaits a hearing before the division's Medical Disciplinary Board on Dec. 19, the same day Earnshaw is to be deposed in a wrongful death suit that was filed against him by Patricia Little.

The DPR wrote in a report that Earnshaw is "an immediate danger to the public."

In January, a Bethalto police officer charged Earnshaw with driving under the influence of alcohol, impersonating a police officer and carrying a loaded Glock pistol.

Earnshaw told the arresting officer he was a sheriff's deputy and showed him a badge. Earnshaw also showed the officer an empty vodka bottle.

Several weeks after his January DUI arrest, Earnshaw was charged in Wood River with a DUI and again carrying a concealed weapon.

On top of his rap sheet, Earnshaw has been a target in Madison County courts dating to at least 2000.

In that year he was sued by a Godfrey woman who claimed Earnshaw prescribed too much medication for her husband, Dennis Roloff.

Roloff shot and killed himself with a pistol.

Rhonda Roloff, represented by attorneys Ed Unsell and Thomas Keefe, settled for an undisclosed amount of money earlier this year.

Attorney Thomas Lakin represented Earnshaw in that suit, according to court records.

In a suit filed May 12, 2005, Patricia Little claims Earnshaw was negligent by failing to perform necessary tests to diagnose her late husband William Little's cardiovascular disease. The suit also claims Earnshaw failed to refer William Little to a cardiologist.

Little claims William's condition went undiagnosed and untreated which ultimately led to his death on Nov. 15, 2003.

According to the complaint, William Little was hospitalized Aug. 18, 2003, and diagnosed with coronary artery disease and recent inferior myocardial infarction. He underwent surgery and suffered post-operative adult respiratory distress syndrome and post-operative pneumonia with profound loss of lung function.

"Little is seeking a judgment against the defendants, each of them for the wrongful death of William Little, for the deprivation of comfort and valuable services which William would have contributed and performed, and for such other relief the court deems just," the complaint states.

Little also is seeking a judgment against the defendants for medical, drug, funeral, and incidental expenses, plus general damages in excess of $50,000.

Little is represented by Mark Bronson of Newman Bronson & Wallis of St. Louis and Sandor Korein of Korein Tillery of Belleville.

Another suit filed in 2005 against Earnshaw claims Earnshaw and other defendants, St. Louis cardiologists Erica Uppstrom, M.D. and Laurence Berarducci, M.D., deviated from the standard of care required by failing to adequately and timely diagnose and treat her husband's heart condition.

In the suit, Susan Stice alleges the doctors failed to order appropriate diagnostic studies and tests to diagnose and treat a heart condition, failed to refer Joe Stice to a competent specialist, and failed to perform a timely catheterization to treat his ischemic heart disease resulting in his death on June 6, 2002.

According to the complaint, Stice sustained severe injuries both internally and externally which resulted in his death, leaving a wife and son as next of kin.

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