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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Office Manager Dropped from Malpractice Lawsuit

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On Monday, the office manager of a former Roanoke pain specialist, Cecil Knox, was dropped from a civil lawsuit.

Beverly Gale Boone was named with Knox and Southwest Virginia Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in a $1.5M medical malpractice suit filed in Roanoke County back in 2004. The lawsuit was filed by Tammy Walton, whose late brother, Tracy Akers, was a patient of Knox.

Akers, a quadriplegic for 19 years after being shot as a teenager, died in February 2002 at the young age of 37. Walton’s suit alleges the defendants prescribed large doses of addictive narcotics and analgesics to her brother, which eventually led to his death. Boone’s lawyer, Nancy Reynolds, said she urged Monday that a malpractice claim not be brought without proof that the defendant provided medical treatment to the patient.

Boone was an office manager, said Reynolds, and her contact with Akers was nothing more than scheduling appointments. The plaintiff’s attorney, Mary Hatch, said Boone was a nurse and she should have known about the improper treatment Akers was receiving. “Even if it were true that she was a nurse, and that was urged, there is still no evidence of treatment,” said Reynolds.

Roanoke County Circuit Court Judge Jim Swanson agreed and granted summary judgment for Boone. The case will continue on against Knox and the practice and it is scheduled for trial in June.

The practice has been closed since 2002, when Knox and Boone were charged with conspiring to illegally distribute prescription drugs, distributing narcotics for no legitimate purpose, racketeering and health care fraud, among other things.

Knox was under federal prosecution for four years before he pleaded guilty to three charges in September 2005. Boone entered into a pretrial diversion agreement, accepting responsibility for one misdemeanor health care fraud charge. Other charges against her were dropped.

“I am sorry that this family lost a loved one,” Boone wrote in an e-mail. “But, as with the government’s criminal case against me, I have been the victim of allegations unsupported by facts and forced to defend against those false accusations.”