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Judges remand medical malpractice action

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial court to hold a hearing as to what testimony an expert could give and to revise one of its orders in limine in a medical malpractice suit stemming from an overdose of Benadryl more than 15 years ago.

In 1995, Michelle Campbell took her two-year-old son to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis after he bumped his head. She saw nurse Adrianne Chambers give K.D. an excessive dose of 125 milligrams of Benadryl through an IV instead of the dose of 12.5 milligrams. K.D. soon had a seizure-like reaction and still has a tremor that the plaintiffs claim was proximately caused by the overdose.

In 1997, Campbell and K.D. filed a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, in which the medical review panel found the evidence showed Chambers didn’t comply with the appropriate standard of care. In 2007, the plaintiffs filed a complaint with allegations similar to that in the proposed complaint filed with the IDI. The case is before the Court of Appeals on interlocutory appeal considering whether the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the defendants’ motion to exclude all expert testimony by toxicologist Daniel J. McCoy, Ph.D., on the grounds that he was not qualified to offer expert medical testimony; granted the defendants’ motion in limine to exclude evidence that Campbell suffered negligent infliction of emotional distress because that claim hadn’t been properly pleaded; and granted the defendants’ motion in limine to exclude evidence of breaches of the standard of care, other than the overdose of Benadryl, that were not presented to the medical review panel.

In K.D., et al. v. Adrianne Chambers, R.N., et al., No. 49A04-1010-CT-636, the COA found the trial court abused its discretion in excluding McCoy’s testimony based only on his curriculum vitae and lack of a medical degree without holding an Evidence Rule 702 hearing. This exclusion was premature and overbroad, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb, because in light of his training in toxicology, his lack of a medical degree doesn’t preclude him as a matter of law from offering testimony relating to the toxic effects of the overdose and whether these include K.D.’s tremor. The judges ordered the trial court to hold the hearing at which the plaintiffs could present further evidence of McCoy’s qualifications and the scientific basis for his proposed testimony.

The judges upheld the decision to exclude evidence that K.D. received other improper doses besides the Benadryl, to the extent that the plaintiffs sought to offer this claimed fact as an additional breach of the standard of care not presented to the medical review panel, wrote Chief Judge Robb. But, the trial court erred in excluding evidence of the allegedly improper rate at which Chambers administered the Benadryl. The failure to give the proper dosage to a child can encompass both the total amount of the drug given as well as the rate at which it is given, she wrote.

The appellate court ordered on remand that the trial court revise its order in limine consistent with the opinion. They also held that Campbell is precluded from presenting to the jury any evidence of her claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress because she failed to sufficiently plead that claim in the proposed complaint before the medical review panel or in the complaint before the trial court.
 

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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