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KSP investigating alleged tampering of medical records at Fleming County Hospital

Posted at 12:46 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 18:29:19-04

FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kimberly Johnson has fought stage four breast cancer for more than five years and she says it's spreading.

"It spread to my bones and other parts of my body," said Johnson.

She says it's a life and death battle.

"I had to have a steel rod put from my shoulder to my elbow where the cancer ate through my bones than a couple of months ago I had a lymph node come up on my neck," said Johnson.

Her other battle is in court - again. Johnson calls it a battle of right and wrong.

"It was just hard to believe, I didn't want to believe it," stated Johnson.

She first sued the Fleming County Hospital for malpractice and settled out of court for $1.25 million after she says doctors missed her cancer diagnosis in early 2015. A diagnosis Johnson's lawsuit alleged went undetected for ten months until another doctor confirmed it.

She claims she had received a letter months earlier from the hospital stating her recent mammogram "revealed no evidence of cancer."

"I had no way of knowing that I was supposed to get a biopsy," said Johnson.

Now in another court fight against Fleming County Hospital and others, Johnson alleges data obtained from the hospital's auditing system revealed that workers "deleted and fabricated" her medical records to cover up the mistake.

Johnson's attorneys say their electronic forensic expert named, Andrew Garrett, found 'substantial changes' in the hospital data he examined.

The Fleming County Hospital denies any wrongdoing. A spokeswoman said the hospital "did not attempt a cover-up or commit fraud of any kind."

It's a civil case on appeal before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

In a new development, LEX 18 has learned Fleming County Commonwealth's Attorney Kelly Clarke has asked Kentucky State Police to investigate Johnson's allegations of fraud and tampering with records. Clarke declined to speak with us saying he does not comment on current cases. Kentucky State Police say given the hundreds and hundreds of court documents, the investigation could take months to complete.

Johnson believes her case deserves law enforcement attention.

"I want them to be fair and if they [defendants] committed a crime and it's something they should be charged with I want them to be charged," said Johnson.

In their latest court filing, her lawyers claim "two doctors, four hospital employees, and four attorneys...conspired to hide and create evidence to provide a defense."

Johnson's attorneys say biopsy information was changed along with a letter they say the hospital never sent Johnson stating she was not cancer-free and needed a four-month follow-up.

Johnson, who undergoes treatment for her cancer now told us, "I was going by what the doctors told me and never received another letter other than the hospital letter saying I was cancer-free come back in one year."

After requests for an interview, LEX 18 received this statement from the Fleming County Hospital:

"While we cannot address the specifics of this case due to the plaintiff's pending appeal, we can unequivocally state that recent media coverage is a mischaracterization of the situation and not reflective of how our team operates or the care provided at our hospital. Coverage of this case has been incredibly one-sided, omitting many relevant details that are publicly available in legal filings. Our staff members did not attempt a coverup or commit fraud of any kind – and our hospital would never support such an action.

We deeply regret the impact a story like this has on our employees, who are so dedicated to their patients, and how it can jeopardize the trust our community places in us.

We thank our team for their continued dedication to their patients and commitment to making communities healthier."

Thank you,

Katelyn Bailey, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Fleming County Hospital

As for Kimberly Johnson, she is hoping for the best. "I think if I had gotten treatment in the beginning it would make a world of difference in my prognosis," said Johnson.

She believes she is doing what is right.

"I feel like I'm helping people I feel like I had to do this, I prayed about it before I did, and I feel like this is going to help people that people need to know this is going on."