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Malpractice ruling for hospital remanded to trial court

April 9, 2013

The apparent agency of Ball Memorial Health Clinic as it pertains to the alleged malpractice of an affiliated doctor and nurse practitioner is a fact question the Indiana Court of Appeals sent back to the trial court, which had granted the hospital summary judgment on the issue.

Danielle Helms in 2007 filed a complaint before the Department of Insurance alleging negligence in her prenatal care resulted in a stillbirth in 2005. A separate federal action was filed because the doctor and nurse practitioner were federal employees.  

In Danielle Helms v. Max H. Rudicel, M.D., Open Door/BMH Health Clinic (a division of Cardinal Health Systems), Cardinal Health Systems, d/b/a Ball Memorial Hospital, et al., 18A04-1202-CT-70, Judge Melissa May wrote that the trial court erred.

“As the federal decision is not res judicata as to BMH’s potential liability as the Doctor and Clinic’s apparent principal and there is a fact question as to such apparent agency, summary judgment for BMH was error. The trial court correctly found BMH might be vicariously liable for any act of Dr. Rudicel or Nurse Practitioner Steinbarger at BMH. We accordingly affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand,” May wrote.

 

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