WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Four more plaintiffs have filed lawsuits accusing a Northwest Arkansas doctor of abuse while in his care.
The latest suits name Dr. Brian T. Hyatt of Rogers, his practice, Northwest Arkansas Hospitals, Northwest Medical Center, Community Health Systems and 25 unnamed hospital employees in complaints seeking damages and a jury trial. Hyatt is at the center of various other legal cases as well as a Medicaid billing fraud investigation.
On March 30, Jennifer Hollis submitted a complaint in Washington County circuit court as guardian of Dakota Maple. According to court documents, the suit was filed due to the “concerted actions” of the defendants to “prey on, coerce, abuse, and unlawfully hold patients within the Northwest Medical Center – Springdale Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit in order to fraudulently bill their private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or other applicable insurance coverage for alleged care and treatment that was not provided.”
The complaint referred to the “criminal and administrative investigations” ongoing regarding the “scheme and misconduct” involved.
“The Defendants would coerce, threaten, lie to, chemically restrain, physically restrain, assault, batter, and otherwise punish or manipulate patients into ceasing all efforts to leave the Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit or otherwise resisting or questioning the Defendants’ conduct and scheme.”
Jennifer Hollis as guardian of Dakota Maple vs. Dr. Brian T. Hyatt et al, complaint for damages, March 30
The filing noted that Maple was deemed incapacitated due to autism and his resulting inability to care for himself physically and financially. Hollis was appointed his guardian on May 2, 2022.
The court also found that Maple was not capable of making safe and educated decisions about his finances or his health. The complaint said that while the conduct at issue was constitute medical malpractice, it extends beyond that to false imprisonment, assault, battery, fraud and “other conduct that is so extreme and outrageous as to be intolerable in civilized society.”
The filing stated that Maple was transported to Northwest after the plaintiff took him to a Rogers emergency room on Marck 29, 2022. The victim had said he was suicidal and agreed to voluntary admission and treatment in the facility.
According to court documents, he was held there for nine days without explanation. The complaint said that he was never evaluated by Hyatt or any other doctor within 24 hours of his detention as required by Arkansas law for any confinement against a patient’s will.
It continued by noting that the only treatment Maple received was a daily, five-minute evaluation by a facility staffer, often “in front of other patients with nonconsensual disclosure of confidential health information.” He was also prescribed medication without any reason or explanation.
He repeatedly asked to leave the facility and was told that he could not do so. After eight days, Hollis went there and demanded that he be transferred elsewhere.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Hyatt told her that he was “not legally supposed to talk” to her, but since she was there he would “be nice and provide her some information.” When she asked about moving Maple to a different health care facility, Hyatt claimed that “Medicaid won’t allow that.”
Plaintiff Darrius Racy filed a complaint in Washington County circuit court on March 31. His suit also alleged fraud, referred to the ongoing investigations of various defendants and made identical accusations about his mistreatment.
Racy’s filing said that he was encouraged to go to the emergency room for an evaluation on March 30, 2022, after he became “upset and tearful following an argument at work that turned physical.” He was later transported to Northwest and admitted to the Behavioral Health Unit on an involuntary 72-hour hold.
He was held there until April 7 and was never informed about his rights or the details of the hold. He was placed in a small room with another patient who told him that “he needed to do exactly what he was told by Unit staff, not question anything, go to ‘group therapy’ every day, keep his head down, and show no emotion.”
“If he did not do exactly what he was told how and when he was told to do it, he could expect to be punished in various forms, including being physically beaten and/or sedated and taken to the fourth floor where patients had even less privileges and heightened security.”
Darrius Racy vs. Dr. Brian T. Hyatt et al, complaint for damages, March 31
After the alleged 72-hour hold expired, Racy was still not allowed to leave the facility despite repeated requests. According to court documents, staff told him that each time he asked to leave he would have time added to his admission.
Ashlee Campbell filed a complaint on March 31, making the same allegations of fraud and being held against her will. According to court documents, she was taken to a Northwest Urgent Care facility on April 1, 2020, after she feared she took too much blood pressure medication. She was asked about past issues involving taking too much medication and said that she had overdosed on Xanax in 2017 when she was in college.
Upon arriving at the ER, Campbell said she was given medication that caused her to pass out. When she regained consciousness, she was in the ICU at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale.
The lawsuit explained that she was taken upstairs to the Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit, where she was told that she was not going home and needed to sign paperwork agreeing to that. She said that she did not need to be admitted and wanted to go home and was subsequently threatened by staff members and was told that she would be held for up to 45 days if she didn’t sign the paperwork presented to her.
Campbell repeatedly asked to go home and was never evaluated or treated by Hyatt or any other doctors during her 10-day stay in the unit. Her complaint said that she believes she was released because her insurance coverage would stop paying for inpatient care at the 10-day mark.
Jayme Landron also filed a complaint against the same group of defendants on March 31, alleging the same behavior by the legal providers, including false imprisonment in connection with fraudulent billing. The plaintiff drove to the Northwest Medical Center ER in Springdale on March 26, 2020, due to depression and a severe panic attack.
Her complaint noted that she said the panic attack was so bad that “she felt like she didn’t want to wake up the next day,” and was then told that she was being placed on an involuntary hold. She was transferred to the Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit.
The filing said that she was held there against her will until April 8, 2020. Like the other recent plaintiffs, court documents said that she never had her rights as a patient explained to her and was never informed that she had the right to leave if she was a “voluntary admission.”
“In response to one of her requests to leave the Unit, Plaintiff overheard a nurse comment about ‘Medicaid patients,’ and the longer you hold them the more money you make.”
Jayme Landron vs. Dr. Brian T. Hyatt et al, complaint for damages, March 31
Landron said the only time she spoke to Hyatt was when he told her that she was being discharged. She was never given a diagnosis, a treatment plan or any substantive information about her care and treatment.
All four plaintiffs are seeking damages and have asked for trials by jury. Dr. Hyatt has not filed responses to any of the lawsuits.