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Summary judgment proper on issue of causation, COA rules

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment in favor of a doctor sued by a patient who claimed a delay in a diagnosis caused him to have increased pain and problems. The evidence doesn’t establish a genuine issue of material fact on the issue of causation.

Joseph Laycock was stabbed in the thigh with a red-hot welding wire at work and immediately treated by a work clinic nurse under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Sliwkowski. Three days later, Laycock went back to the clinic because of tightness and pain in his thigh. He was sent home and the next day, he went to the emergency room because of unbearable pain. He was diagnosed with compartment syndrome and underwent surgery for the condition.

Laycock filed a proposed medical malpractice complaint with the Department of Insurance, and a medical review panel unanimously ruled in favor of Sliwkowski. A year later, Laycock sued the doctor, alleging he had a duty to exercise reasonable care to see that Laycock obtained proper treatment.

Laycock’s expert witness, Dr. Herbert Hermele, testified that while it is important in general to not delay treatment regarding compartment syndrome, he could not say in Laycock’s case that his condition was worse because of the 24-hour delay in treatment.

The trial court granted Sliwkowski’s motion for summary judgment.

Laycock claimed on appeal there are questions of fact related to causation regarding the second time he went to the clinic regarding his thigh. He argued that the  approach outlined in Mayhue v. Sparkman, 653 N.E.2d, 1384, 1386 (Ind. 1995), should apply in his case, but the Court of Appeals judges rejected his claim. There is no claim or evidence that he had a 50 percent or worse chance of recovery from the original injury, so Mayhue is not applicable. Thus, traditional causation principles apply.

Hermele’s testimony was not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Sliwkowski’s treatment was the proximate cause of Laycock’s injuries, so the appeals panel upheld summary judgment for the doctor in Joseph Laycock v. Joseph Sliwkowski, M.D., 79A04-1310-CT-521.
 

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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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