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FL: lab erred in reporting tissue sample neg.: protective order regarding 'discovery' for lab.

CASE FACTS: Maria Rapio (Rapio) filed an amended complaint against Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (Quest), two counts of which were for negligence and medical malpractice. The amended complaint alleged that Quest was negligent in the handling of Rapio's tissue sample which was sent to the Quest laboratory for pathology analysis. Quest did not dispute that Rapio's tissue sample, which later proved to be malignant, got mixed up with a tissue sample that was not malignant from another individual (Patient X). Seven months after Rapio received the incorrect pathology report stating that her tissue sample was not malignant, she was informed of the mistake and began treatment. Rapio alleged that she was informed incorrectly that her tissue sample was not malignant and that the delay in informing her caused her treatment to be more extensive. Rapio propounded extensive discovery, including requests for the name of Patient X, all of Patient X's treating doctors, and "all of the medical care providers known ... to have treated Patient X" Rapio also moved to inspect and photograph Quest's premises. Quest objected to producing this information on relevancy grounds and on grounds that the information was privileged and confidential medical information. Rapio moved to compel production of the information concerning Patient X. The trial court sustained Quest's objection to the production of the records pertaining to "the tissue sample that was mixed up with Rapio's tissue sample" and to revealing the name of Patient X, but ordered Quest to provide the "names and last known addresses of all medical providers known by Quest to have treated Patient X." The trial court also granted Rapio's motion to photograph the premises of Quest. Quest petitioned for a writ of certiorari.

COURT'S OPINION: The court denied in part and granted in part Quest's petition for a writ of certiorari. The court denied Quest's request for a writ of certiorari as to those portions of the trial court's orders that required production of information from the medical records of Patient X, while protecting Patient X's identity, which could lead to discovery of evidence admissible at trial and be relevant to the mix-up of the tissue samples. The court granted certiorari as a departure from the essential requirements of law and quashed the portion of the trial court's orders requiring production of the names and last known addresses of all medical providers known by Quest to have treated Patient X. The court ruled disclosure was not only irrelevant, but would also lead to the name of Patient X, which was protected from discovery. Likewise, the court quashed the portion of the trial court's order allowing Rapio's attorney and photographer to enter Quest's premises. Quest Diagnostics v. Rapio, 3D10-1525 FLCA (1/19/2011)-FL
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Title Annotation:Medical Law Cases of Note
Publication:Medical Law's Regan Report
Article Type:Case overview
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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