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Former Kalamazoo Urogynecologist Settles Wrongful Death Suit from the 1990s

— July 24, 2019

Dr. Roger Beyer, a former Kalamazoo urogynecologist currently under state investigation agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit from the 1990s.

Dr. Roger Beyer, a recently retired urogynecologist in Kalamazoo, agreed to settle a lawsuit with a family that filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him back in the 1990s. Prior to the settlement, Beyer closed his practice is still “under an on-going state investigation for improperly reusing medical devices.”

Skyline of Kalamazoo, Michigan
Skyline of Kalamazoo, Michigan; image courtesy of Mxobe via Wikimedia Commons,

What happened, though? Why was the lawsuit filed against him in the first place?

According to the lawsuit and civil court records, “a newborn boy died at a hospital delivery room minutes after he was born” under Beyer’s care. The suit itself was filed March 4, 1995, and alleged “Beyer broke the mother’s water at his office prior to her due date and told her to lie about it when presenting to the hospital later the same day.” Tragically, the newborn baby boy died 45 minutes after he was born because “Beyer allowed the baby to go without proper oxygenation.” To make matters worse, after the baby was born, Beyer failed to administer proper CPR.

When commenting on the matter, William Benefiel said, “OB-GYN doctors, ones that get involved with delivery, probably see more claims of the larger type simply because if there’s something bad happens to a baby it’s usually catastrophic, lifetime disability. There tends to be more scrutiny in those cases especially if there’s some bad outcome.” Benefiel is a medical malpractice attorney in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Just how common are medical malpractice lawsuits? Well, according to a study in the New England Medical Journal, an estimated 75% of doctors working in “low-risk specialties have faced a malpractice claim at some point in their careers.” Doctors working in higher-risk specialties have a 99% chance of being hit with a malpractice claim sometime in their career. For example, OB-GYNs and surgeons are much more likely to be sued than pediatricians, according to a 2010 report by the American Medical Association.

Prior to retirement, Beyer operated Women’s Health Specialists in Kalamazoo, Michigan and worked as a board-certified urogynecologist-female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgeon. On July 15, 2019, he closed his practice and retired at the age of 71, nearly a month after state health officials announced “Beyer was under investigation, accused of improperly reusing a rectal pressure sensor (RPS), which is used to provide accurate detection of muscle contraction activity in the pelvic musculature.”

Since Beyer’s retirement, Dr. Melinda Abernathy has been treating a handful of Beyer’s former patients. Abernathy is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and urogynecology at WMed specializing in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. She said:

“Pelvic floor disorders affect millions of women in the U.S. it’s a topic for women difficult to talk about. There are well-trained physicians who can care for these women and can help them continue their path of regaining an acceptable quality of life.”


Kalamazoo OB-GYN under state investigation settled wrongful death lawsuit in 1990s

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