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Judges remand medical malpractice action

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial court to hold a hearing as to what testimony an expert could give and to revise one of its orders in limine in a medical malpractice suit stemming from an overdose of Benadryl more than 15 years ago.

In 1995, Michelle Campbell took her two-year-old son to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis after he bumped his head. She saw nurse Adrianne Chambers give K.D. an excessive dose of 125 milligrams of Benadryl through an IV instead of the dose of 12.5 milligrams. K.D. soon had a seizure-like reaction and still has a tremor that the plaintiffs claim was proximately caused by the overdose.

In 1997, Campbell and K.D. filed a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, in which the medical review panel found the evidence showed Chambers didn’t comply with the appropriate standard of care. In 2007, the plaintiffs filed a complaint with allegations similar to that in the proposed complaint filed with the IDI. The case is before the Court of Appeals on interlocutory appeal considering whether the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the defendants’ motion to exclude all expert testimony by toxicologist Daniel J. McCoy, Ph.D., on the grounds that he was not qualified to offer expert medical testimony; granted the defendants’ motion in limine to exclude evidence that Campbell suffered negligent infliction of emotional distress because that claim hadn’t been properly pleaded; and granted the defendants’ motion in limine to exclude evidence of breaches of the standard of care, other than the overdose of Benadryl, that were not presented to the medical review panel.

In K.D., et al. v. Adrianne Chambers, R.N., et al., No. 49A04-1010-CT-636, the COA found the trial court abused its discretion in excluding McCoy’s testimony based only on his curriculum vitae and lack of a medical degree without holding an Evidence Rule 702 hearing. This exclusion was premature and overbroad, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb, because in light of his training in toxicology, his lack of a medical degree doesn’t preclude him as a matter of law from offering testimony relating to the toxic effects of the overdose and whether these include K.D.’s tremor. The judges ordered the trial court to hold the hearing at which the plaintiffs could present further evidence of McCoy’s qualifications and the scientific basis for his proposed testimony.

The judges upheld the decision to exclude evidence that K.D. received other improper doses besides the Benadryl, to the extent that the plaintiffs sought to offer this claimed fact as an additional breach of the standard of care not presented to the medical review panel, wrote Chief Judge Robb. But, the trial court erred in excluding evidence of the allegedly improper rate at which Chambers administered the Benadryl. The failure to give the proper dosage to a child can encompass both the total amount of the drug given as well as the rate at which it is given, she wrote.

The appellate court ordered on remand that the trial court revise its order in limine consistent with the opinion. They also held that Campbell is precluded from presenting to the jury any evidence of her claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress because she failed to sufficiently plead that claim in the proposed complaint before the medical review panel or in the complaint before the trial court.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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