Hegarty v. Hudson

Daniel Ernest Hegarty, M.D., and the Monroeville Medical Clinic appealed a circuit court judgment entered in favor of Dixie Hudson in her medical-malpractice action. Dr. Hegarty delivered Hudson's baby via cesarian-section ("C-section") in 2004. During the operation, but after the baby had been delivered, the placenta became detached from the baby's umbilical cord. Dr. Hegarty searched within and beyond Hudson's uterus but was unable to locate the placenta. Dr. Hegarty requested assistance from his partner at the time, who also tried to locate the placenta but was unsuccessful. Following the operation, Hudson experienced severe pain in her abdomen and dramatic weight loss. Dr. Hegarty eventually ordered a CT scan to be performed and at that time, a mass was located in Hudson's abdomen. Dr. Hegarty then referred Hudson to Dr. Fahy, who subsequently referred her to a doctor in Mobile, who identified and surgically removed the retained placenta from Hudson's abdomen. Hudson sued in 2006 alleging medical negligence. The defendants contended on appeal that the trial court erred in allowing Hudson's expert witness to testify as an expert regarding the applicable standard of care and Dr. Hegarty's alleged breach of it. Defendants also argued that the trial court's charge to the jury was improper and that the judgment against Dr. Hegarty violated public policy. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court exceeded its discretion in allowing Hudson's expert to testify, and as such, erred in denying the doctor's motions for judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court and rendered judgment in favor of Dr. Hegarty. View "Hegarty v. Hudson " on Justia Law