Injured hunter files legal malpractice case

Ann Knef Aug. 7, 2007, 10:00am

A young man injured by a bullet wound to his right foot is pursuing a legal malpractice claim against his former attorney.

John Lange, who was hurt more than four years ago in a hunting accident, claims St. Louis attorney Frank J. Kaveney failed to filed his meritorious medical malpractice claim within the necessary statute of limitation, according to a lawsuit filed Aug. 2 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

According to the suit, from March 6, 2003 until about March 13, 2007, Kaveney represented that he was pursuing a claim against a Mt. Vernon doctor, hospital and clinic.

Lange was injured March 1, 2003, and taken to Washington County Hospital in Nashville for emergency treatment. Age 17 at the time, Lange was subsequently transferred to St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon where he was treated and discharged by Dr. Joon Ahn.

Ruth Lange, the plaintiff's mother, informed Dr. Ahn on March 2, 2003, that her son was suffering from a high fevere and severe pain in his foot.

"Dr. Ahn's office refused to take or recommend any action," the complaint states.

On March 3, 2003, Lange was diagnosed with gangrene in his right foot at Washington County Hospital. He spent the next eight days in intensive care at St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis following emergency surgery in which one of his toes was amputated.

Lange claims Dr. Ahn "failed to appreciate the danger of infection posed by the presence of cow and/or goose feces at the site of the injury, and failed to take reasonably necessary steps to protect against infection," the complaint states.

He claims that as a result of his untreated infection he sustained injuries to his bones, soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, muscles and blood vessels of his right leg and foot.

He also claims that Kaveney's alleged negligent acts caused him to suffer the loss of his claim against Dr. Ahn, Mt. Vernon Orthopedic Clinic and St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital "to his considerable financial damage."

The suit also names Kaveney's firm, Schmitz, Kopman, Kaveney & Markham, P.C.

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