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COA affirms ruling clearing consulting doctor in death case claiming negligence

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A trial court properly granted summary judgment to a doctor defending a negligence case brought by the estate of a man who died, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, finding no doctor-patient relationship existed.

In Steven Harper and Rose Harper as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Steven Harper, Deceased v. Gerry Hippensteel, M.D.,  42A04-1302-MI-95, the appellate panel found the doctor owed no duty to Steven Harper Jr., who died at the Primary Care Clinic in Vincennes in November 2008 after suffering a pulmonary embolism and deep venous thrombosis.

Dr. Gerry Hippensteel had entered into an Indiana Collaborative Practice Agreement with nurse practitioner Vonetta Vories, in which Hippensteel consulted and reviewed a random 5 percent sampling of the nurse’s patient records, including medications prescribed.  

The court concluded that the undisputed facts prove Hippensteel didn’t owe a duty to Harper in the traditional sense because he had never seen him as a patient and never discussed his case with Vories. It then dealt with the question of whether the Collaborative Practice Agreement established a duty for the doctor.

“Because the CPA explicitly states that its terms do not place any increased liability on Dr. Hippensteel for decisions made by NP Vories, and indicates that NP Vories had the independent authority to treat patients as she saw fit, we cannot conclude that Dr. Hippensteel entered into a physician-patient relationship with each of NP Vories’s patients merely because he entered into a CPA with NP Vories,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the panel that included Judges Mark Bailey and Melissa May.

“Accordingly, because the CPA did not increase Dr. Hippensteel’s liability, Dr. Hippensteel could only be found to have entered into a physician-patient relationship and, as a result, acquired a duty to NP Vories’s patients, if he performed any affirmative act with regard to the patient,” the panel held.



 

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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