by
Doretha Thompson appealed a judgment entered in favor of defendants, Baptist Memorial Hospital DeSoto, Inc. (BMH-D), and James Fortune, M.D., in a medical malpractice case. A surgical sponge inadvertently was left inside Thompson’s abdomen during an operation performed by Dr. Fortune to remove Thompson’s gallbladder in 2004. The sponge was not discovered until 2011, when Thompson presented to the emergency room in complaining of stomach pains. Dr. Fortune admitted at trial that the sponge inadvertently had been left in Thompson’s abdomen during the 2004 operation. And he admitted the sponge was the cause of Thompson’s 2011 injury and complications. But Dr. Fortune claimed he did not deviate from the applicable standard of care, which he contended did not require him to count or keep track of the number of surgical sponges used in the operation, but which allowed him to rely on an accurate sponge count conducted by a nurse and scrub technician assisting in the 2004 procedure, both of whom were employed by BMH-D. All parties provided expert testimony in support of their respective cases. The only issue the Mississippi Supreme Court found having merit was Thompson’s claim the jury was not properly instructed on the law in this case. That instructional error constituted reversible error, and Thompson was entitled to a new trial against both defendants. View "Thompson v. Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto, Inc." on Justia Law

by
For a claim to sound in medical malpractice, the act from which the claim arises must be directly related to medical care or services, which require the use of professional judgment or skill. This case arose out of an action brought by Denise Townes on behalf of Cinnette Perry, and Perry, individually, against the National Deaf Academy, by and through its employees, for injuries Perry sustained while she was a resident at the Academy. Perry was injured when the Academy’s employees attempted to physically restrain her with a Therapeutic Aggression Control Techniques (TACT) hold. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Academy, concluding Townes alleged medical malpractice claims, rather than negligence claims, and failed to comply with the medical malpractice presuit requirements. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Townes’s claims sounded in ordinary negligence because the employees’ actions were “not for treatment or diagnosis of any condition” and did not require medical skill or judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Townes’s claims did not arise from medical malpractice because the administration of a TACT hold was not directly related to medical care or services. View "National Deaf Academy, LLC v. Townes" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the court of appeal in this medical malpractice action, holding that the treating physician’s deposition testimony regarding how the physician would have treated Alexis Cantore had she arrived at Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) earlier was admissible. Alexis and her parents (collectively, Plaintiffs) sued MCH and West Boca Medical Center, Inc. (WBMC), alleging that they had not provided proper medical care for Alexis, who suffered permanent brain damage after a brain herniation. Over Plaintiffs’ objection, counsel for WBMC was permitted to publish to the jury the deposition of the pediatric neurosurgeon at MCH who operated on Alexis, in which the physician answered hypothetical questions as to how he would have treated Alexis had she arrived at MCH an hour or two earlier. The jury returned a verdict in favor of WBMC and MCH. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in admitting the challenged deposition testimony pursuant to the Court’s decision in Saunders v. Dickens, 151 So. 3d 434 (Fla. 2014), and that the error was not harmless. View "Cantore v. West Boca Medical Center, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision to deny a writ of prohibition sought by Miki Thompson in this case alleging that Kara Vance’s suicide was caused by Timothy Lavender’s negligent prescribing of the acne medicine, Accutane. Lavender and Pikeville Dermatology served a subpoena duces tecum seeking production of records and reports pertaining to Vance held by Dr. Marilyn Cassis, Vance’s therapist. Dr. Cassis objected to production of these records without a court order, so Lavender and Pikeville Dermatology obtained a trial court order compelling compliance with the subpoena. Thompson then petitioned for a writ of prohibition, which the court of appeals denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in its discovery order. View "Thompson v. Honorable Eddy Coleman" on Justia Law

by
This interlocutory appeal arose from a circuit court’s denial of a motion to transfer venue. Under Mississippi law, venue is determined at the time the lawsuit originally is filed. The resolution of this appeal hinged on the application of this principle to an issue of first impression for the Mississippi Supreme Court: does an amended complaint, which names a new party to the suit, relate back to the time of filing of the original complaint for the purposes of determining venue? The Court found it did not. The suit here was filed in Hinds County, naming only Forrest County defendants, and the amended complaint did not relate back to the time of filing for the purposes of determining venue. The circuit court abused its discretion in denying the motion to transfer venue. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court and remanded the case to be transferred to the Circuit Court Forrest County. View "Forrest General Hospital v. Upton" on Justia Law

by
The Board of Directors (the Board) of Bear Valley Community Hospital (Bear Valley) refused to promote Dr. Robert O. Powell from provisional to active staff membership and reappointment to Bear Valley's medical staff. Dr. Powell appealed the superior court judgment denying his petition for writ of mandate to void the Board's decision and for reinstatement of his medical staff privileges. Dr. Powell practiced medicine in both Texas and California as a general surgeon. In 2000, the medical executive committee of Brownwood Regional Medical Center (Brownwood), in Texas, found that Dr. Powell failed to advise a young boy's parents that he severed the boy's vas deferens during a hernia procedure or of the ensuing implications. Further, the committee found that Dr. Powell falsely represented to Brownwood's medical staff, on at least two occasions, that he fully disclosed the circumstances to the parents, behavior which the committee considered to be dishonest, obstructive, and which prevented appropriate follow-up care. Based on the committee's findings, Brownwood terminated Dr. Powell's staff membership and clinical privileges. In subsequent years, Dr. Powell obtained staff privileges at other medical facilities. In October 2011, Dr. Powell applied for appointment to the medical staff at Bear Valley. On his initial application form, Dr. Powell was given an opportunity to disclose whether his clinical privileges had ever been revoked by any medical facility. In administrative hearings generated by the Bear Valley Board’s decision, there was a revelation that Dr. Powell had not been completely forthcoming about the Brownwood termination, and alleged the doctor mislead the judicial review committee (“JRC”) about the circumstances leading to that termination. Under Bear Valley's bylaws, Dr. Powell had the right to an administrative appeal of the JRC's decision; he chose, however, to bypass an administrative appeal and directly petition the superior court for a writ of mandamus. In superior court, Dr. Powell filed a petition for writ of mandate under Code of Civil Procedure sections 1094.5 and 1094.6, seeking to void the JRC's/Board's decision and to have his medical privileges reinstated. The trial court denied the petition, and this appeal followed. On appeal of the superior court’s denial, Dr. Powell argued he was entitled to a hearing before the lapse of his provisional staff privileges: that the Board surreptitiously terminated his staff privileges, presumably for a medical disciplinary cause, by allowing his privileges to lapse and failing to act. The Court of Appeal determined the Bear Valley Board had little to no insight into the true circumstances of Dr. Powell’s termination at Brownwood or the extent of his misrepresentations, thus the Board properly exercised independent judgment based on the information presented. In summary, the Court of Appeal concluded Bear Valley provided Dr. Powell a fair procedure in denying his request for active staff privileges and reappointment to the medical staff. View "Powell v. Bear Valley Community Hospital" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim on the grounds that the Utah Medical Malpractice Act’s two-year statute of limitations barred Plaintiff’s claim. Specifically, the Court held (1) a jury could permissibly find for Defendant based on the evidence before it; (2) the trial court’s decision not to grant summary judgment was not reviewable; (3) the trial court’s evidentiary decisions were not in error; (4) a directed verdict was not warranted where sufficient evidence was offered to sustain the jury verdict in favor of Defendant; and (5) the jury instructions in this case were not misleading. View "Arnold v. Grigsby" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants (collectively, the doctors) in this medical negligence action brought by the administrator of the estate of Paul Hemsley (the Estate). In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants were negligent in the rendering of medical care and treatment to Hemsley. The jury found for the doctors. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not fail to perform its Daubert/Schafersman gatekeeping function in admitting the testimony of the doctors’ expert witnesses that Defendants met the standard of care; and (2) the district court did not err in overruling the Estate’s post trial motions. View "Hemsley v. Langdon" on Justia Law

by
In this case brought by a former patient who sued his psychiatrist for medical malpractice, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the psychiatrist. The Court held (1) the district court did not err in granting the patient a ninety-day continuance of the summary judgment hearing for only the limited purpose of giving the patient more time to hire an expert witness; (2) the district court did not err in relying on the psychiatrist’s affidavit in which he averred that he had met the applicable standard of care; and (3) the patient was not prejudiced by the court’s refusal to enter exhibit 35, which contained the patient’s first set of requests for admission and the psychiatrist’s responses, into evidence at the summary judgment hearing or by its denial of Lombardo’s motion for a protective order under HIPAA. View "Lombardo v. Sedlacek" on Justia Law

by
In this medical malpractice action, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed Monica Gutierrez’s treating physicians to testify during trial as to their diagnostic opinions and permitted Monica and her parents (collectively, “Petitioners”) to present rebuttal testimony from a second pathology expert. Further, any prejudice attributable to comments made during Petitioners’ closing argument did not merit a new trial. Petitioners alleged that Dr. Jose Vargas negligently failed to diagnose Monica with a chronic kidney disease, which severely damaged her kidneys and forced her to undergo a kidney transplant. After a second trial, the court entered a final judgment award of over $4 million for Petitioners. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for a new trial, concluding that Petitioners violated the “one expert per specialty” rule and materially misrepresented the evidence during closing arguments. The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Third District, holding (1) admitting the testimony of Monica’s treating physicians was proper because they testified as Monica’s treating physicians, not expert witnesses; (2) a second pathology expert properly testified in rebuttal; and (3) a single improper comment by Petitioners’ counsel did not require a new trial. View "Gutierrez v. Vargas" on Justia Law