Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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The decedent in this case died from an acute intra-abdominal bleed from a hematoma with adjacent tissue damage. The day before his death, the decedent visited an emergency department, where CT scans of the decedent’s abdomen, pelvis, and chest were performed and sent to Defendant, a radiologist. The decedent’s widow (Plaintiff) sued the radiologist, alleging that the radiologist negligently evaluated the CT scans. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff failed to establish that Defendant’s negligence caused the decedent’s death. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly granted judgment for Defendant because Plaintiff failed to establish causation, an essential element of Plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim, by failing to establish that the decedent would not have died but for Defendant’s alleged breach of the standard of care. View "Drouhard-Nordhus v. Rosenquist" on Justia Law

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The day after seeking treatment at Ashland Health Center, a municipal hospital, Ann Krier died. Four days after the executor of Krier’s estate (Plaintiff) submitted a notice of claim to Ashland, asserting claims against the hospital for the alleged negligence of its employees, Plaintiff filed a wrongful death action and a survivor action against one of Ashland’s employees (Defendant). The district court granted summary judgment to Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff failed to comply with the notice requirements in Kan. Stat. Ann. 12-105b by not waiting to file the lawsuits until the statutorily required time of 120 days had elapsed after submitting the written notice to the hospital. A divided Court of Appeals panel affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that failure to comply with section 12-105b(d) does not deprive a district court of jurisdiction over a lawsuit against a municipal employee because the jurisdictional bar in the statute unambiguously applies only to lawsuits against municipalities. View "Whaley v. Sharp" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Doctor and Doctor’s employer (Employer), alleging that Doctor touched her inappropriately and made sexually charged comments during her office visits. Plaintiff settled with Doctor, and the case proceeded against Employer. The district court held that Plaintiff’s claims against Employer were barred by Kan. Stat. Ann. 40-3403(h), which past decisions of the Supreme Court interpreted to cover a covered health care provider’s vicarious liability and any other responsibility, including independent or direct liability, for claims caused by the professional services of another health care provider. The court of appeals affirmed. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the lower courts erred in relying on the cases interpreting the statute because the cases were wrongly decided, were distinguishable, or had been effectively overruled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 40-3403(h) barred Employer’s liability, and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment. View "Cady v. Schroll" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff attempted to file a medical malpractice action against Defendant by mailing the summons and petition via unrestricted certified mail to Defendant's business address. Defendant received the petition and filed an answer asserting several affirmative defenses. After participating in the discovery process, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that Plaintiff had failed to substantially comply with the statutory requirements for service of process, and Defendant's actual notice of the lawsuit did not confer personal jurisdiction on the district court. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Plaintiff's service of process in this case was invalid; but (2) the district court erred in dismissing the case without permitting Plaintiff the additional time set forth in Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-203(b) in which to obtain valid service of process. View "Fisher v. DeCarvalho" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was injured in the course of a surgery performed by Doctor. Two days before the expiration of the statute of limitations Plaintiff filed sued against Doctor and his practice. Doctor wasn't properly served. The district court later granted Plaintiff's motion to dismiss the malpractice action without prejudice. Plaintiff subsequently filed through different counsel a new lawsuit seeking damages against Doctor. Doctor filed a motion to dismiss on limitations grounds. Plaintiff's original attorneys (Attorneys) filed a motion to intervene to oppose Doctor's motion to dismiss, which the district court granted. Thereafter, the court granted Doctor's motion to dismiss based on an expired statute of limitations. Attorneys appealed. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. Attorneys again appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that Attorneys lacked standing to intervene in district court and thus lacked standing to take this appeal. View "Ternes v. Galichia" on Justia Law

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On the second anniversary of her husband Curley's death, Plaintiff, individually and as the representative of the estate of Curley, filed a lawsuit against defendants Doctor and Hospital, in which she raised wrongful death and survival claims based on alleged medical malpractice. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, finding that Plaintiff's claims were barred by a two-year limitation period. In so concluding, the court found that the causes of action accrued on the last date on which Defendants' negligence could have occurred and the date on which Curley's injuries were first ascertainable. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the basis for Plaintiff's lawsuit did not accrue until Curley's death. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the court of appeals' judgment as to the wrongful death action, holding that a claim for wrongful death accrues on the date of death unless information regarding the fact of death or the wrongful act that causes the death was concealed or misrepresented; and (2) reversed the court of appeals' holding regarding the statute of limitations applicable to the survival action, holding that the survival action in this case was barred by the statute of limitations. View "Martin v. Naik" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Doctor for medical malpractice arising out of surgeries to treat her tracheal stenosis. Doctor filed a motion in limine to prevent Plaintiff's subsequent treating physician from testifying about the standard of care. The district court granted the motion because Plaintiff's treating physician did not meet the requirements of Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-3412. Under the statute, Plaintiff's treating physician must have spent at least fifty percent of his professional time within the two years before Plaintiff's first surgery in actual clinical practice if Plaintiff wished him to testify as an expert on the applicable standard of care. The court subsequently granted summary judgment for Doctor because, in the absence of expert testimony on the standard of care, Plaintiff could not carry her burden of proof. the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the fifty percent rule for expert witnesses under section 60-3412 is inapplicable to treating physicians; and (2) therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Doctor. View "Schlaikjer v. Kaplan" on Justia Law

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Keely Foster, a minor, and her parents, Kim and Kevin Foster, sued Keely's pediatric orthapedic surgeon, Dr. Michelle Klaumann, for injury done to a nerve in Keely's leg while Keely was undergoing surgery. After a trial, the jury found in favor of Klaumann. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the jury verdict, holding (1) it was not error to instruct the jury on both a general physician standard of care and a specialist standard of care when the parties did not dispute Klaumann was a specialist; and (2) the "best judgment" instruction does not misstate the law by instructing the jury that the physician has a right to use his or her best judgment in the selection of the choice of treatment. View "Foster v. Klaumann" on Justia Law

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Parents, individually and on behalf of their daughter (Daughter), filed a medical malpractice action against Hospital under respondeat superior, alleging that Hospital's employee, an obstetrical nurse (Nurse), breached the standard of care which caused permanent injury to Daughter. The jury returned a verdict for Hospital. The court of appeals affirmed. Parents appealed, contending that one jury instruction erroneously directed the jury to apply a community nursing standard of care when all of their twelve negligence claims were governed by a national standard. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the instruction given was correct for the negligence allegation based upon chain of command because it was governed by a community standard of care. View "Bates v. Dodge City Healthcare Group" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued her doctor, who mistakenly removed her left ovary during a laparoscopic surgery intended to take the right ovary, and a jury awarded her $759,680 in damages. The district court reduced that amount by $425,000 because of a state law limiting non-economic damages in personal injury lawsuits and a posttrial ruling finding Plaintiff's evidence of future medical expenses insufficient. Both sides appealed. The Supreme Court (1) upheld Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-19a02, which operated to cap Plaintiff's jury award for non-economic damages, as applied to Plaintiff; (2) reversed the district court's decision to strike the jury's award for Plaintiff's future medical expenses and remanded the case with instructions to reinstate that award; and (3) denied the doctor's trial error claims. View "Miller v. Johnson" on Justia Law