Wesley Medical files suit against AAA Ambulance, Forrest General - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Wesley Medical files suit against AAA Ambulance, Forrest General Hospital

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Wesley Medical Center announced Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit against AAA ambulance company and Forrest General hospital for allegedly engaging in improper practices, by denying local residents their choice of hospitals for emergency care.

In the lawsuit Wesley alleges, that AAA which is controlled by Forrest General, ignored or denied numerous residents requests to be treated at Wesley. The suit also alleges, that some patients were falsely classified as "trauma" patients and told they could only be taken to Forrest General hospital, when they did not meet trauma criteria and could have received care at Wesley. Some were told Wesley did not have physician specialists or capabilities to care for their medical emergencies.

Wesley CEO Mike Neuendorf says, he met with Forrest General hospital and AAA officials but nothing came of the meeting. Neuendorf says the litigation is a last resort.

"The lawsuit really boils down to patient choice and respecting the desires and wishes of the patients." said Neuendorf.  "We certainly didn't dream this up, it is based on a great number of patients coming forward in just the two years that I have been here but from what I understand this is a long standing issue. We collected these dozens of cases looked through them, looked at their comments the ambulance run reports and determined real quickly that patients were being mislabeled as trauma patients in order to take them across town to the trauma center."

Officials at Wesley have requested injunctive relief and asked the court to stop the practice immediately while determining the issues involved.

Seven on your side spoke with Forrest General CEO Evan Dillard who declined to comment until hospital officials have a chance to see the lawsuit.