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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. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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