Seeking to recover at least $600,000 from doctors who failed to diagnose his wife's mortal cancer, Ronald Pruitt filed the first lawsuit of the new year (excluding asbestos) in Madison County Circuit Court.

Pruitt’s suit filed Jan. 4--the eve of U.S. President Bush’s Madison County tort reform address--is against Riverbend Physicians & Surgeons, Dr. Robert Lutan, Boyd Fillager Clinic and Dr. James Reid.

Diana Pruitt was under the defendants' care due to several episodes of chest discomfort which occurred the month prior to Feb. 2, 2001, the complaint states.

Pruitt alleges that the defendants failed to diagnose cancer, failed to recognize that Diana was at risk for cancer, failed to perform a chest x-ray, CT scan, lab tests, ultrasound exams, MRI or nuclear scans or other appropriate testing to diagnose cancer.

The doctors also failed to perform a “timely and diligent” investigation into Diana’s family history and risks of cancer, including a history of smoking.

Pruitt claims that as a result of the defendants' negligence, his wife died of cancer on July 22, 2003. She also sustained bodily injury causing her to incur pain and suffering, disability, loss of normal life, and loss of income.

According to the suit, Pruitt and his four adult children “did sustain great losses in the form of medical, funeral and burial expenses.”

Represented by John Webster of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson of Alton, Pruitt is also seeking damages under the survival statute (755 ILCS 5/27-6) alleging his wife suffered great injuries of a personal and pecuniary nature.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge George Moran Jr.

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