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16 complaints and a lawsuit face Big Island doctor

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 8:52 AM HST Updated: Apr 30, 2014 6:19 PM HST

By Tim Sakahara -bio | email

HILO, BIG ISLAND (Hawaii News Now) -There are new developments in the case of Kristen Tavares. The young mother of two who lapsed into a coma after a botched wisdom tooth extraction on March 17

The Tavares family has filed a lawsuit against Dr. John Stover. We’ve also learned there are four new complaints filed with the State against Dr. Stover bringing the new total up to 16.

The four new complaints against Dr. John Stover are in regard to his dental practice. He is also a cosmetic surgeon.

Two of the previous cases involve the death of 52 year old Curtis Wagasky who died after complications from having one tooth removed and the coma case involving 24 year old Kristen Tavares. Tavares’ family hired well known attorney Rick Fried to file the lawsuit.

“Obviously something dramatically bad occurred for Kristen to be in this condition,” said Rick Fried, attorney. “He seems to have difficulty doing either medicine or dentistry.”

The lawsuit claims Dr. Stover did “not have an appropriate plan or procedures to respond to medical emergencies.” It also questions Dr. Stover’s “knowledge, training and experience.” It says the defendant was “grossly negligent, willful, wanton and/or in reckless disregard.”

“In the best of hands bad things can happen, but usually not 12 times in a three year period,” said Fried. “Certainly where there is this much smoke there could well be fire.”

Kristen Tavares remains in a deep coma on Maui. She has two children including a four year old son and a four month old baby. Her family clings to the hope that by a miracle she may wake up.

Meanwhile in a pre-petition settlement agreement with the State Regulated Industries Complaints Office, Dr. Stover has surrendered his medical and dental licenses. He has also closed up his three offices on the Big Island.

He has been accused of having inaccurate dental records in the case regarding Curtis Wagasky’s death. Attorneys plan to check the Tavares records carefully.

“I can think of two cases where records had been fudged and we were able to prove that. We’ll obviously be looking at that,” said Fried.

They also may look at adding others to the defendant list, including the state for not responding sooner. Wagasky’s death happened 15 months before Tavares’ procedure.

“Obviously at some point if somebody continues to have complaints and nothing is done there has to be real concern,” said Fried.

The victims from the other complaints are not part of the Tavares lawsuit, although Fried would like to speak with them about the case.

Fried does believe Dr. Stover is still in Hawaii. We called Arthur Roeca, Dr. Stover’s lawyer, but he did not return our calls.

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