Justices add malpractice, adoption cases to docket

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The Indiana Supreme Court will review summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers sued for medical malpractice in a stillbirth case as well as an adoption by a grandmother who claimed a 1997 conviction for neglect of a dependant should not automatically bar her from adopting the children.

Justices agreed to hear the two cases and denied transfer in 21 cases for the week ending Feb. 6.

In the adoption case, the Court of Appeals found I.C. 31-19-11-1(c) unconstitutional as applied in In Re the Adoption of: I.B. and W.B., (Minor Children) and B.B. v. B.C. & J.L., and The Indiana Department of Child Services, 82A05-1402-AD-65. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s adoption petition, finding the adoption was in the children’s best interest and that the statute barring adoption because of the neglect conviction was unconstitutional as applied and cannot be dispositive.

Justices also agreed to review a medical malpractice claim arising from a stillbirth in which health care providers were granted summary judgment at the trial court. The decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

The case is 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. 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.

Indiana Supreme Court transfer dispositions may be viewed here. http://www.in.gov/judiciary/cofc/2338.htm


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