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Woman loses appeal over stillbirth medical malpractice claim

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A woman who claimed medical malpractice contributed to a stillborn child failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that a trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendants.

The panel affirmed in Rebecca Stafford, Individually and as Surviving Parent of Drayden Powell, Deceased, and Drayden Powell, Deceased v. James E. Szymanowki, M.D. and Gyn, Ltd., Inc., and Joseph B. Clemente, M.D., 89A01-1401-CT-48. Rebecca Stafford argued that she had pre-existing health issues that required a higher standard of care, that doctors failed to properly analyze tests that indicated decreased fetal activity, and that appropriate tests to assure fetal well-being were not ordered.

Stafford also sought to recover under the Child Wrongful Death Statute that was amended in 2009 to include any fetus that had attained viability.

Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the panel that affirmed Wayne Superior Judge Gregory Horn’s grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants.

“(W)e conclude that the trial court properly concluded that Dr. Brickner’s testimony did not create a genuine issue of material fact as to the liability of Dr.  Szymanowski; (2) GYN cannot be held vicariously liable for the perceived acts of medical malpractice committed by Dr. Smith when Dr. Smith’s conduct was never reviewed by the medical review panel; and (3) the trial court properly concluded that no recovery exists for the 2007 death of a child not born alive under the Child Wrongful Death Statute, as amended,” Riley wrote.

 

 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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