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LA: resident fails to diagnose strep throat: misdiagnosis results in pt. becoming a quadriplegic.

CASE FACTS: On September 19, 1995, Shirley Eusea went to Ochsner Family Doctor Clinic (Ochsner) in Mathews, Louisiana, and was examined by Dr. Roger Blanchard. Dr. Blanchard was a third-year resident at Broadlawns Medical Center (Broadlawns), a teaching hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, that allowed residents to acquire practical experience in a setting and location of their choice. After examining the patient, Dr. Blanchard diagnosed her condition as mononucleosis. The patient actually had a strep throat. However, no throat culture was taken and no broad-spectrum antibiotic was prescribed. Five days later, the patient was admitted to the emergency room at St. Anne General Hospital with septicemia. This led to septic shock and gangrene of her extremities and ultimately required the amputation of both arms below the elbows and both legs below the knees. The patient filed a claim with the Louisiana Patients' Compensation Fund against both St. Anne General Hospital and Ochsner. She later amended it to add Dr. Blanchard and his malpractice insurer. She also named Dr. Blanchard's insurance carrier, St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company (St. Paul), as a defendant. St. Paul admitted that when Dr. Blanchard was involved in the preceptorship, he was insured under the policy issued by Broadlawns under whose auspices Dr. Blanchard was serving his residency in Louisiana. After an evidentiary hearing, the District Court dismissed Broadlawns from the suit. The patient appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Louisiana Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court held, inter alia, that by allowing Dr. Blanchard to practice medicine in Louisiana during his three preceptorships, Broadlawns exposed itself to pitfalls inherent in those actions and should be reasonably required to defend itself in a Louisiana court. The court found it more convenient for the severely-injured Louisiana plaintiff to litigate in Louisiana. Virtually all of the evidence relative to her claim will be developed in Louisiana, where the alleged malpractice occurred. Further, Louisiana has an interest in protecting its citizens and in applying its medical malpractice laws to effectuate what it has determined is a reasonable balancing of interests between the injured party, the responsible party or parties, and the state's compensation programs. By enabling Dr. Blanchard to practice medicine in Louisiana during his three preceptorships, Broadlawns can reasonably be required to defend itself in a Louisiana court when injury arising out of those activities occurred in Louisiana. Eusea v. Blanchard, 2002 WL 31894765 So.2d-LA

Meet the Editor & Publisher: A. David Tammelleo, JD, is a nationally recognized authority on health care law. Practicing law for over 40 years, he concentrates in health care law with the Providence, R.I. firm of A. David Tammelleo & Associates. He has presented seminars on medical, nursing and hospital law throughout the United States. In addition to his writings as Editor of Medical Law's, Nursing Law's & Hospital Law's Reagan Reports, his legal articles have been published in the most prestigious health law journals. A prolific writer, his thousands of articles, as well as his achievement as an attorney and lecturer, have won him recognition in Martindale-Hubbell's Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, Marquis Who's Who in American Law, and Who's Who in America.
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Title Annotation:Medical Malpractice Cases
Author:Tammelleo, A. David
Publication:Medical Law's Regan Report
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:531
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