Woman claims local doctor's rudeness caused her to have heart attack in his office

By Kelly Holleran | Jan 7, 2009

Actor Hugh Laurie may have a television hit on his hands by playing the ultra-rude Dr. Gregory House, but a local doctor has been hit with a lawsuit for his alleged lack of bedside manner.

A Beaumont woman claims Dr. Howard Wilcox was so rude to her that she suffered a heart attack in his office.

According to the suit filed pro se on Dec. 30 in Jefferson County District Court, Amy Michelle Modica visited Dr. Wilcox's office on Major Drive a few weeks ago complaining of circulation problems and was attempting to describe them to the doctor when she had a heart attack.

"I was having difficulty with my extremities going to sleep on me and that gives an uncomfortable feeling," she states in the suit. "When the discomfort last for hours, it becomes painful."

After attempting to explain her symptoms to Wilcox, Modica suffered a heart attack when he said her symptoms were normal, she claims.

"I was made to have a heart attack right there in his office," the suit states. "And, that is true. It would not have happened if this man would have decency to listen fully, and have regard for what symptoms I am notifying him of."

This is not Modica's only suit against a professional for behavior she found unsatisfactory. On Dec. 23 she filed a lawsuit against attorney Frank Calvert for allegedly verbally assaulting her with sarcasm.

In November, she filed suit against multiple housing officials, including President George W. Bush, alleging she may be forced into homelessness because of mismanagement at the Beaumont Housing Authority.

In her suit against Dr. Wilcox, Modica writes that the doctor "gives off the impression of one having an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a feeling of superiority to other people."

Because of Wilcox's personality problem, Modica recommends he undergo psychoanalysis.

In addition to causing her heart attack, Modica claims Wilcox caused her additional stress when he declined to write a letter on her behalf so she could obtain a handicapped accessibility tag.

The Beaumont Municipal Transit System requires a letter from both the passenger and the passenger's physician that states the passenger is handicapped before it will award handicapped access.

But Wilcox was unwilling to fill out the handicapped accessibility form, the suit states.

"I am dying," Modica wrote in her complaint. "To have a physician to deny me HANDICAPPED ACCESS is the most CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT that a dying person can have. This is undeniably MEDICAL ABUSE." (emphasis by plaintiff)

She alleges that Dr. Wilcox does not keep good medical records and specifically does not have her orthopedic records.

"It is so horrible to place you (sic) trust and care into one person, and then you realize that all along this has been the biggest Wantonly act of tom-foolery monkey business ever imaginable," Modica states.

She claims Dr. Wilcox engaged in medical neglect when he once denied her treatment.

"At a particular time in my life, when I went to him crying tears in a depressed state of mind, with confusion of my past that was not sorted out yet, I asked for treatment," she states in the suit. "He denied me."

Modica is seeking unspecified compensatory damages for medical expenses and life care expenses and unspecified non-economic damages because of her reduced enjoyment of life and her pain and emotional distress.

She is also seeking taxi cab money because of Wilcox's denial of her handicapped access and unspecified amounts for pain and emotional distress for the times she was forced to ride the bus.

She is also seeking unspecified punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief to which she is entitled.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th District Court.

Case No. D182-951

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