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$1.25 million med mal verdict affirmed

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a $1.25 million jury verdict and in doing so ruled on three issues of first impression that will likely impact future medical malpractice suits.

In Michael A. Linton, M.D. v. Lawanda Davis, No. 45A05-0610-CV-567, the court's unanimous decision today involves Lawanda Davis' labor and delivery in August 2000, where she lost her newborn son at a Gary hospital four hours after the birth. The Indiana Medical Review Panel concluded that Dr. Michael A. Linton had deviated from the standard of care and the Indiana Medical Licensing Board investigated his conduct before the trial began in 2006 and a jury ultimately ruled for Davis.

On appeal, Linton argued the trial court shouldn't have admitted his testimony about the proceedings and rulings of the medical licensing board; that it should have allowed into evidence the review panel's determination not to forward his name to the licensing board for more investigation; and a nurse should have been allowed to testify as a witness about her perceptions of the baby's well-being during labor and delivery.

Through the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, claims must go before a medical review panel before a lawsuit can proceed; the panel's conclusion isn't decisive and by statute is admissible in a civil trial. If the panel makes a written determination as to whether a physician's name should be forwarded to the licensing board, their decision is not admissible.

In this case, the licensing board placed him on probation indefinitely and that came up during trial. Judges affirmed the lower court, holding that a physician's licensure status can be used to impeach that person's testimony, but that a medical licensing board's specific findings aren't admissible in judicial proceedings.

Linton argued on one point that Indiana Code Section 34-18-9-4 states a medical review panel's determination of "forwarding" is inadmissible, but a determination "not to forward" is allowed.

"The phrase 'determination concerning the forwarding' cannot be wrestled from the context it is used," the court wrote. "As the 'determination' refers back to the Panel's decision as to 'whether to forward,' it not only includes forwarding but must also encompass the decision not to forward."

While the court found that the trial court improperly excluded the nurse's testimony, that error was harmless and didn't affect the outcome.

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  1. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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