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Justices reinstate med-mal suit against doctor in stillbirth

June 2, 2015

The Indiana Supreme Court reinstated a medical malpractice case against a Richmond doctor accused of failing to meet the standard of care in examining a pregnant woman whose child subsequently was stillborn.

The court reversed summary judgment in favor of Dr. James E. Szymanowski that had been affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

“Finding a genuine issue of material fact regarding Dr. Szymanowski's negligence raised by the patient's designated expert medical testimony, we reverse the grant of summary judgment,” Justice Brent Dickson wrote in Rebecca Stafford, Individually and as Surviving Parent of Drayden Powell, Deceased, and Drayden Powell, Deceased v. James E. Szymanowski, M.D. and Gyn, Ltd., Inc., 89S01-1502-CT-64. The court let stand the summary judgment order in favor of Gyn, Ltd. Inc.

Stafford claims a biophysical profile was incorrectly performed or interpreted incorrectly days before the stillbirth. Testimony of her expert witness creates an issue for the jury, even though a medical review panel determined Szymanowski met the appropriate standard of care.

Justices also affirmed the denial of a damages award under the Child Wrongful Death Statute.

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