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Court upholds judgment for doctor, health care center

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A woman who challenged the grant of summary judgment on her negligence claims in favor of the doctor who performed her breast reduction surgery and the heath care center where it was performed lost her appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Ivelisse Martinez challenged the grant of summary judgment to Dr. Jung Park and St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Center on her claim for medical negligence against Park and her negligent credentialing claim against St. Margaret. Park performed bilateral breast reduction surgery on Martinez in 2000. He is board certified as an otolaryngologist and a cosmetic surgeon, and she knew him because he was her daughter’s ear, nose and throat doctor.

After the surgery, Martinez was displeased with the results and filed a proposed complaint against Park and St. Margaret. The medical review panel found Park “failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged in the complaint as it relates to the lack of appropriate recognized post-graduate training and residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery,” and the health care center “failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged in the complaint by granting hospital privileges to a physician who lacked appropriate recognized post-graduate training and residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery.”

Martinez filed a medical malpractice complaint; only her negligence claims are at issue on appeal.

Her complaint raised an issue with regard to the manner in which Park performed the surgery, and Park argued that he didn’t breach the standard of care in which he performed the surgery or provided pre- and post-operative care. The medical review panel opinion and Martinez’s expert affidavit only addressed the fact of the surgery; neither addressed the manner in which he actually performed the surgery itself.

In Ivelisse Martinez v. Jung I. Park, M.D., and St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers, Inc., No. 45A05-1012-CT-799, the appellate court found Martinez failed to come forth with any evidence to rebut Park’s expert opinion that his medical treatment of Martinez met the applicable standard of care. And for Martinez to succeed on her negligent credentialing claim, she must show that the doctor to whom the hospital allegedly negligently extended privileges breached the applicable standard of care in treating Martinez and proximately caused her injuries. Because she failed to rebut the expert testimony that Park didn’t breach the applicable standard of care, St. Margaret can’t be liable for the negligent credentialing of him, the judges held.

 

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