Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Appellants Mary and Terry Cohan brought a medical malpractice action against Appellees alleging that Appellees’ negligent treatment caused Mary’s breast cancer to progress undiagnosed for one year, which led to Mary suffering damages from a shortened life expectancy and physical and mental suffering. Appellees moved for a directed verdict on the basis that Appellants failed to make a prima facie case of causation and damages against them. The district court granted the motion, concluding that there was no sufficient proof of damage or causation other than the loss of chance of a lower rate of non-recurrence, which did not constitute a proper measure of damage at the time. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded for a new trial, holding (1) this court declines to adopt the loss-of-chance doctrine; but (2) Appellants presented evidence that could have sustained a finding for Mary on the issue of damages under the traditional medical malpractice standard. View "Cohan v. Medical Imaging Consultants" on Justia Law

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Bradly Brothers received medical treatment at Kimball County Hospital after suffering injuries in a single-vehicle accident. After a chiropractor subsequently discovered multiple fractures in Brothers’ finger, Brothers filed a tort claim pursuant to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act and later filed a complaint against Kimball County, the Hospital, and a Physician. The district court dismissed the County and entered summary judgment for the Hospital and the Physician. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a county hospital is a separate legal entity from the county, and because the County in this case could have no liability under the facts alleged, any error by the district court in failing to allow Brothers to present evidence on the County’s motion to dismiss was harmless; and (2) the Hospital and Physician were properly dismissed due to Brothers’ failure to meet the Act’s filing requirements. View "Brothers v. Kimball County Hosp." on Justia Law

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Virginia Jacobson died from complications after choking on a piece of meat. Jacobson was under the care of Dr. Sherry Shresta and Dr. Gaston Cornu-Labat before she died. Virginia’s husband and the special administrator of Virginia’s estate (collectively, the Jacobsons) filed a wrongful death action against the doctors (Defendants). Defendants filed a motion to bifurcate on the issue of whether Defendants were employees of the hospital, a political subdivision. If Defendants were hospital employees, the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA) barred the Jacobsons’ action. Before hearing the bifurcated employment issue, the trial court rejected the Jacobsons’ claim that they were entitled to a jury trial on the employment issue. The district court then dismissed the complaint, finding that Defendants were employees. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the Jacobsons had waived their right to a jury trial because they failed to make a timely objection to the bench trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Jacobsons, by their silence, could not have waived their right to a jury trial; but (2) the Jacobsons did not have a right to have a jury decide whether Defendants were political subdivision employees. View "Jacobson v. Shresta" on Justia Law

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This was an appeal after summary judgment in a medical malpractice action. A kidney donor brought suit after his donated kidney was rendered useless by allegedly negligent medical treatment provided to the donee. At issue was whether a duty of care is owed to a kidney donor by the physicians providing posttransplant treatment to the donee. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the physicians. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in this instance, a physician does not owe a duty of care to a kidney donor during the posttransplant treatment and care of the donee, and therefore, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to the defendants. View "Olson v. Wrenshall" on Justia Law

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In this medical malpractice case, Husband alleged that Defendants, several physicians, a hospital and others, caused his Wife's death by negligently failing to administer an expensive drug to treat her hypertension. Because the drug needed to be administered indefinitely and could cause deadly symptoms if its administration was interrupted, Wife's treating physicians decided not to administer the drug until Wife's insurer approved it or another source of payment could be found. Wife died before either happened. The jury returned a general verdict for Defendant. Husband then filed a motion for a new trial, which the court granted based on its conclusion that Defendants' expert testimony was inconsistent with the standard of care. At issue on appeal was whether under the circumstances of this case, an expert medical witness is permitted to opine that under the customary standard of care, a physician should consider the health risks to a patient who may be unable to pay for continued treatment. The Supreme Court reversed the district court's order granting a new trial, holding that such testimony is admissible and that, as a matter of law, it could not be said that Defendants' decisions in this case violated the standard of care. View "Murray v. UNMC Physicians" on Justia Law

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Appellant David Maycock, in his capacity as special administrator of the estate of Marty Maycock, filed a complaint alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death against various doctors and Alegent Health based on their treatment of Marty prior to and until his death. The district court dismissed the case against certain doctors and Alegent Health. The court of appeals affirmed these rulings. Meanwhile, at the district court, the remaining doctors moved for summary judgment on the sole basis that the claims against them were barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the doctors. The court of appeals reversed and remanded, determining that there were genuine issues of material fact whether Marty was under a mental disorder at the time he was treated by the doctors and that therefore, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-213, the statute of limitations was tolled until the removal of his mental disorder. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals, holding that the court of appeals correctly concluded that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether and on what dates the action was tolled. View "Maycock v. Hoody" on Justia Law