Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Plaintiff filed a proposed malpractice complaint alleging that Defendant’s medical and surgical treatment of Plaintiff’s wife failed to meet the appropriate standard of care, resulting in her death. In addition to the complaint, Plaintiff submitted to the Medical Review Panel (MRP) his wife’s medical records and a narrative statement. The MRP found that Defendant had met the applicable standard of care. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a complaint in court. Plaintiff named as an expert a hematologist who was expected to testify that Defendant had failed to prescribe the appropriate dosage of anticoagulation medication. Defendant moved to strike the hematologist’s opinion on grounds that Plaintiff’s submission to the MRP did not allege malpractice relating to the anticoagulation medication and so Plaintiff could not pursue the claim in court. The trial court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that Plaintiff was allowed to raise theories of alleged malpractice during litigation following the MRP process. The Supreme Court granted transfer and adopted and incorporated by reference the Court of Appeals opinion, holding that the Court of Appeals’ opinion was consistent with Miller v. Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Inc. View "McKeen v. Turner" on Justia Law

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Eighty-three-year-old Geraldine Siner was admitted to Kindred Hospital in 2007 for treatment of aspiration pneumonia. Geraldine’s children, John Siner and Kathy Siner, later arranged for a transfer to Methodist Hospital. Upon her arrival, Geraldine required immediate treatment for a collapsed lung and was suffering from wounds on her cheeks, infection, and septic shock. Geraldine died twenty days later. The Siners filed a medical malpractice complaint against Kindred Hospital and Dr. Mohammed Majid, alleging that Defendants failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care, proximately resulting in injuries and damages requiring compensation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court reversed after noting that Defendants’ own designated evidence revealed conflicting medical opinions on the element of causation, holding (1) conflicting evidence on a material issue precludes a prima facie case for summary judgment; and (2) Defendants did not affirmatively negate the Siners’ claims as required to merit summary judgment. View "Siner v. Kindred Hosp. Ltd. P’ship" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought this medical malpractice action against her physician and the clinic that provided her prenatal medical care alleging negligence in her care and treatment during pregnancy, resulting in the fetal demise of her unborn child. The trial court granted Defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed summary judgment for Plaintiffs’ physician but affirmed summary judgment for the clinic, holding (1) a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the physician’s negligence raised by Plaintiff’s designated expert medical testimony; and (2) the trial court properly entered summary judgment for the clinic with respect to the theory that the clinic was vicariously liable as principal for the acts and omissions of its physicians. View "Stafford v. Szymanowski" on Justia Law

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An Estate filed an adult wrongful death medical malpractice action against a nursing home. The Estate settled its claim against the nursing home for $250,000, the maximum liability of the health care provider under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act (MMA). Thereafter, the Estate filed a petition to determine the amount of excess damages it was due from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. The Estate and the Fund agreed on the amount of damages but left the attorney fee component of damages for determination by the trial court. The trial court ordered the Fund to pay the Estate $50,440 for attorney fees. The Fund appealed, arguing that, in an action to recover for the wrongful death of an adult, the fifteen percent limit on attorney fees imposed by the MMA (the "fee cap provision") should be applied such that the Fund should not be required to pay a claimant an amount for attorney fees exceeding fifteen percent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the fee cap provision applies to cap the fees that the plaintiff’s lawyer may charge as to the award the client receives from the Fund but does not lessen the Fund’s liability to a claimant. View "Ind. Patient's Comp. Fund v. Holcomb" on Justia Law

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Decedent died on March 25, 2011 from cervical cancer. On July 1, 2011, Decedent's Estate commenced this medical malpractice action, alleging that Defendant, Decedent’s physician, had negligently failed to perform a recommended endocervical biopsy and that this mistake led to a late diagnosis of Decedent’s cancer and ultimately resulted in her death. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds because the complaint was filed more than two years after Defendant allegedly failed to perform the endocervical biopsy. The trial court granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there remained a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Estate filed its complaint within a reasonable time, and therefore, Defendant was not entitled to summary judgment. View "David v. Kleckner" on Justia Law

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On April 19, Plaintiff sent a proposed medical malpractice complaint to the Indiana Department of Insurance by way of FedEx Priority Overnight. On April 21, the Department received the proposed complaint and filed-stamped it that same day. April 21 was one day after the expiration of the applicable two-year statute of limitations. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that the proposed complaint was considered “filed” upon receipt rather than upon deposit with a private delivery service. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted transfer and reversed the entry of summary judgment in favor of Defendants, holding (1) the commencement of a medical malpractice action occurs when a copy of the proposed complaint is deposited for mailing by registered or certified mail or by a designated private delivery service; and (2) Plaintiff’s action was deemed filed, and her action commenced, on April 19, which was within the applicable statute of limitations. View "Moryl v. Ransone" on Justia Law

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Mary Manley was involved in a head-on automobile collision with Kimberly Zehr. Manley later learned that Zehr had several medical conditions that, combined with medications she had been prescribed by her physician. Dr. Ryan Sherer, may have contributed to the accident. Manley and her husband (Plaintiffs) later filed a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance against Dr. Sherer and his medical group (Defendants) alleging medical negligence in failing to warn Zehr not to drive while she was taking her medication. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that Plaintiffs' action was untimely brought under the two-year limitation period set forth in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) it was indiscernible whether Plaintiffs could have pursued their malpractice claim within the two-year statutory limit, or if not, whether they acted within a reasonable time as required by caselaw; and (2) genuine issues of material fact existed as to the absence of the element of causation necessary to establish liability. Remanded.View "Manley v. Sherer" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sent a proposed medical malpractice complaint to the Indiana Department of insurance without including $7 in required statutory filing and processing fees. Plaintiffs subsequently filed their medical malpractice complaint against Defendants. After the Department discovered the fee omission, it sent Plaintiffs a letter stating that if the mandatory fee was not sent, the complaint would not be considered filed with the Department. Plaintiffs sent a check to the Department the day they received the letter. The Department received the processing fees three days after the statutory period ended. The trial court subsequently granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding Plaintiffs' complaint was not timely filed. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs' proposed complaint was timely filed with the Department.View "Miller v. Dobbs" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a malpractice claim against Dr. Anthony Miller and Achilles Podiatry Group seeking damages for the alleged injuries they received after surgery. The trial was delayed due to Plaintiffs' inability to secure an expert witness until after the discovery deadline. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a notice of a new expert witness. The trial court excluded Plaintiffs' expert witness for violation of discovery deadlines and then dismissed the case, concluding that Plaintiffs could not establish their case without the witness. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the witness exclusion was erroneous, and therefore, the granting of Defendants' motion to dismiss was likewise erroneous. View "Wright v. Miller" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff's wife died after various physicians failed to diagnose and treat her obstructed bowel. Plaintiff, acting individually and as a personal representative of his wife's estate, filed a medical malpractice complaint against Community Hospitals of Indiana, Inc. (Community). A jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff and awarded damages in the amount of $8.5 million. Community subsequently made an oral motion to reduce the jury awarded to $1.23 million - the cap imposed by the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (Act). Plaintiff objected to the reduction of the damage award alleging that the cap was unconstitutional and requesting an evidentiary hearing to develop his constitutional challenges. The trial court denied Plaintiff's request and entered judgment in the amount of $1.25 million. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff forfeited his opportunity to conduct an evidentiary hearing to challenge the constitutionality of the Act. View "Plank v. Cmty. Hosps. of Ind., Inc." on Justia Law