On March 15, 2013, the Court of Claims of Ohio (“Court of Claims”) approved a settlement agreement between the Medical College Hospitals (“MCH”), now known as University of Toledo Health Sciences Campus, and the daughter of a woman who died in 1997, allegedly due to medical malpractice at MCH that occurred in May 1995. The Court of Claims has original jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the State of Ohio and its agencies.
The medical malpractice plaintiff’s mother was admitted to MCH in May 1995 at which time she had an abnormal chest x-ray that turned out to be a cancerous lung tumor. However, due to alleged medical negligence at MCH, the cancerous tumor was left untreated for 18 months during which time it spread and became inoperable, resulting in the woman’s death on November 3, 1997.
The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed by the woman’s surviving daughter in the Court of Claims on April 24, 1998, alleging that MCH and its agents and employees breached the standard of care in diagnosing, treating, and/or informing the woman of the cancerous tumor. One of the medical malpractice defendant doctors responded to the lawsuit by alleging that he was immune from being sued for medical malpractice because his participation in the care of the woman was limited to signing her release forms in 1995 (he did not examine or treat the woman in the hospital during her three-day inpatient stay from May 30 to June 2, 1995) and he further alleged that he was entitled to immunity from being sued for medical malpractice because MCH is an “instrumentality of the State of Ohio” and physicians employed by the state are entitled to “statutory immunity for injuries caused during the course of carrying out their employment duties.”
The Court of Claims originally granted immunity to the medical malpractice defendant doctor but that decision was reversed on appeal to the Tenth District Court of Appeals, which cited an Ohio Supreme Court decision from 2002. Even though the Court of Claims subsequently decided in 2007 that the Ohio Supreme Court case cited by the Tenth District Court of Appeals should not apply retroactively, the Court of Appeals nonetheless agreed with the Tenth District that the defendant doctor should not be immune as he was not working in the state’s interest at the time he signed the release papers.
The medical malpractice case finally went before a magistrate in December 2012, at which time the woman’s daughter and her two siblings were each awarded $30,000, one granddaughter was awarded $10,000, and the family received $100,000 for a survivorship claim and more than $10,000 for funeral and burial expenses. The magistrate’s decision had to be approved by the Court of Claims, which approved the settlement of the medical malpractice and wrongful death case in the amount of $210,743 on March 15, 2013.
Source Dawn Rosenshine, Exec. v. Medical College Hospitals, Case No. 1998-04701.
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