Louisiana Supreme Court Holds Negligent Credentialing Claim Falls Under Louisiana’s Medical Malpractice Act

The Supreme Court of Louisiana (“Louisiana Supreme Court”) held in its opinion dated January 29, 2020 that the plaintiff’s “allegations against the hospitals for negligent re-credentialing necessarily fall within the definition of “malpractice” under the LMMA because they constitute an “unintentional tort … based on health care or professional services rendered, or which should have been rendered, by a health care provider, to a patient … in the training or supervision of health care providers.” La. R.S. 40:1231.1(A)(13)” (“the treatment-related medical decisions and
dereliction of skill with which the LMMA is concerned, and for which a hospital can be held liable for ‘malpractice,’ fall under the ‘supervision and training of the health care providers’ once they enter the building and engage in the practice of medicine therein”).

The plaintiff had alleged in her Louisiana medical malpractice petition, in part: “On or about October 13, 2014, an echocardiogram was read by Dr. Dalal, a non-board certified pediatric cardiologist. Dr. Dalal had hospital privileges at LGMC even though LGMC knew or should have know[n] she was not board certified in the field of pediatric cardiology.”“[LGMC] negligently credentialed Dr. Dalal and negligently provided her with privileges to practice in its hospital.” “[W&C] negligently credentialed Dr. Dalal and negligently provided her with privileges to practice in its hospital.” No additional allegations of negligence were asserted against either hospital.

The Louisiana Supreme Court stated, “The petition clearly presents claims that arise from the medical treatment provided by Dr. Dalal, and the allegations of negligence against the hospitals specifically arise from that medical treatment.” The Louisiana Supreme Court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the Louisiana Legislature must not have intended to include “credentialing” or “re-credentialing” within the strictures of the LMMA because it rejected proposed changes to the definition of “malpractice” to include those terms, finding that the argument fails to acknowledge that the definition is drafted broadly enough to include “any unintentional tort … based on health care … by a health care provider, to a patient … in the training or supervision of health care providers.” The Louisiana Supreme Court reasoned: “In short, asserting claims of “credentialing” or “re-credentialing” against a healthcare provider cannot be a talismanic incantation that automatically excludes a plaintiff’s claims from the strictures of the LMMA. If that were so, all medical malpractice plaintiffs could sidestep the statutory limitations of the LMMA.”

The Louisiana Supreme Court noted, however, “Our holding does not necessarily foreclose a future plaintiff from alleging negligent credentialing or re-credentialing claims against a health care provider that are not so intertwined with malpractice claims as to fall outside of the purview of the LMMA. Theoretically, a plaintiff could pursue claims against a physician while also pursuing negligent credentialing claims against the hospital that are wholly unrelated to a patient’s medical care, and instead relate to the physician’s negligent conduct as a hospital employee. But no such claims have been alleged here.”

Source Thomas v. The Regional Health System of Acadiana, LLC, Nos. 2019-C-00507 c/w 2019-C-0524.

If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) as a result of the medical negligence in Louisiana or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2020 at 5:24 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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