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Lawsuit says former Johnson City cancer doctor responsible for patient death

May 23rd, 2013 4:05 pm by Rex Barber

Lawsuit says former Johnson City cancer doctor responsible for patient death

Dr. William Kincaid

A former Johnson City cancer doctor who pleaded guilty in a case involving “misbranded” drugs was named Friday in a civil case alleging responsibility for a patient’s death.

Dr. William Kincaid, one of three physicians in the partnership that was McLeod Blood and Cancer Center in Johnson City, was named, along with the clinic, in the lawsuit filed Friday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Wendal D. Jackson, an attorney for Dannie Pate, said in the complaint that his client’s wife, Ruth Darlene Pate, who was a patient of McLeod, died “by the negligence and recklessness of defendant Kincaid in the administration of the counterfeit” versions of cancer drugs Avastin and Abraxane.

Jackson said the case could turn into a homicide case.

Kincaid pleaded guilty in December in federal court in Greeneville to “receiving in interstate commerce a misbranded drug with intent to defraud or mislead,” according to court documents. (See related article.)

According to information in the plea agreement, the federal government claimed McLeod purchased $2 million worth of cancer medications from a company named Quality Specialty Products, located in Canada, but the drugs were not processed through an FDA-approved supplier.

The drugs cost less than the clinic was paying from FDA-approved suppliers in the U.S. These drugs were ordered in 2007.

In 2008, nurses raised concerns about the medications with foreign language on the labels. Shipments from QSP stopped but were resumed in 2009 with the drugs going to a storage business in which Kincaid had part ownership. These drugs were then mingled into the FDA-approved drugs at the cancer clinic.

According to this new lawsuit, Pate’s wife was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011 and began treatment at McLeod.

Of all the drugs administered to Pate’s wife, Avastin and Abraxane were alleged to have been counterfeit, according to the lawsuit, and the use of these drugs constituted “battery upon her person.”

Mark D. Slagle, who represented Kincaid, said in January that the 18 cancer drugs collected from McLeod by the federal government were not counterfeit nor diluted and, in fact, contained the proper active ingredients. (See related article) Slagle died in March.

Slagle cited a 10-page report from the FDA created Dec. 17 that he received by email from the Department of Justice on Jan. 9.

Pate’s lawsuit further alleges that his wife’s second infusion of cancer drugs in August was administered in a 20-minute period rather than the FDA-required 60-minute period.

Pate’s wife began to feel ill during this infusion and continued to “decline,” according to the lawsuit.

She became unconscious after arriving home and died at Johnson City Medical Center five days later.

According to the lawsuit, Pate is seeking compensatory damages of $10 million and punitive damages of $1 million.

Jackson said the case could become a second-degree murder or reckless homicide case.

“I will be very much involved with either the United States district attorney or the Washington County district attorney,” he said.

Jackson said he plans to file three more cases related to McLeod next week.

“And then there are several more, several more, to follow,” Jackson said.

A sentencing hearing for Kincaid’s federal case has been reset from June 3 to June 10 at 9 a.m.

He faces up to three years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, supervised release of up to a year and probation of up to five years.

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