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COA to travel to Wabash College

January 1, 2008
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments Feb. 26 at Wabash College in Crawfordsville. Judges Patricia Riley, James Kirsch, and Melissa May will hear the appeal from Monroe Circuit Court of H.D., et al. v. BHC Meadows Hospital, Inc. at 3 p.m.

In this appeal, the court is asked to decide whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act requires a juvenile and his or her parents to bring claims from a breach of patient confidentiality before a medical review panel prior to a state court.

H.D., from Illinois, was admitted to BHC Meadows Hospital, an adolescent psychiatric hospital in Bloomington. Officials at the hospital assured H.D. and her parents her admittance to the hospital would be confidential and no one at her school would know about it.

However, the day after she entered the hospital, H.D.'s therapist at the hospital - who did not review the forms about not contacting her school - faxed an update of H.D.'s condition to her school counselor. When H.D. returned to school a few weeks later, her basketball coach asked H.D. when she would tell her teammates about her hospitalization.

Distraught that others knew about her situation, H.D. again demonstrated suicidal behavior. Two months later, two faxed satisfaction surveys about the Meadows were sent to H.D.'s school counselor.

H.D.'s parents filed suit in Monroe Circuit Court, seeking compensation and punitive damages for invasion of privacy, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional/reckless infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act.

The hospital brought a motion to dismiss, arguing the family's claims were subject to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, which requires submission of the matter before a medical review panel prior to filing an action in court. Initially, the trial court denied the Meadows' motion to dismiss, but after the hospital renewed the motion, the trial court granted it in July 2007.
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