Katherine Chaffins, et al. v. Clint Kauffman, M.D., et al. - 8/27/13

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Tuesday  August 27, 2013 
11:00 AM  EST

11 a.m. 66A04-1302-CT-85. Katherine Chaffins and her husband appeal the grant of summary judgment in favor of Dr. Clint Kauffman; his practice, Family and Women’s Health Services; and Pulaski County Memorial Hospital.  Dr. Kauffman performed a routine colonoscopy on Katherine, immediately after which Katherine complained to the hospital staff of intense abdominal pain.  Katherine was presumed to have common gas pain, no further inquiry was made, and she was discharged from the hospital after twenty-two minutes of recovery.  Twelve hours later, Katherine’s pain had worsened, and she returned to the hospital, where an X-ray revealed that her colon had been perforated during the procedure.

The Chaffinses filed a negligence claim against the three defendants, alleging their decision to discharge Katherine without inquiring into the source of her pain fell below a reasonable standard of care associated with post-colonoscopy treatment.  A medical malpractice review panel found that the defendants were not negligent, and the Pulaski Superior Court subsequently granted summary judgment in their favor.  On appeal, the Chaffinses argue that they presented sufficient evidence of disputed material fact with regard to the standard of care.  The Chaffinses’ expert witness testified that a perforated colon must be considered, and an X-ray must be performed, when a patient complains of severe abdominal pain following a colonoscopy.  This testimony, the Chaffinses claim, was in direct conflict with the medical malpractice review panel’s findings on the issue.

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