The State of Louisiana Court of Appeal, Third District (“Louisiana Appellate Court”), in its unpublished opinion dated November 3, 2021, stated that the Louisiana medical malpractice plaintiff’s expert’s affidavit submitted in opposition to the defendant hospital’s motion for summary judgment “does not constitute supporting evidence that Perkins can carry her burden to prove the essential elements of her claim, that she suffered any injury by delaying her diagnosis by two hours or that a connection exists between Defendants’ alleged breach of the standard of care and her alleged injuries.”
The Underlying Facts
On January 2, 2016, Rose Perkins (“Perkins”) arrived at the emergency department of defendant Jennings American Legion Hospital, complaining of left groin pain that radiated to her lower back after she fell while leaning over to pick up a package from a step.
Perkins was examined in the emergency department by a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). The FNP noted that Perkins’ abdomen was tender towards the sacral area and that Perkins was unable to perform a straight leg raise due to pain. The FNP’s differential diagnosis included a fractured hip and she ordered x-rays of Perkins’ pelvis and knee, which were performed. The results of the x-rays were interpreted by the emergency room physician who determined that the x-rays showed no indication of a fracture. Thereafter, the FNP discharged Perkins via wheelchair with a prescription for pain medication. The FNP noted the patient’s condition had improved and included instructions to follow up with her primary care physician.
After being discharged, approximately two hours later, Perkins went to another hospital’s emergency department complaining of the same pain as she had when she sought medical treatment at the defendant hospital. A CT scan of Perkins’ pelvis revealed a hip fracture. The orthopedist who was consulted recommended Perkins be admitted to the hospital, but nothing to be done surgically.
Louisiana Appellate Court Opinion
The Louisiana Appellate Court stated: “Perkins’ sole exhibit presented at the hearing on Defendants’ motion for summary judgment was the affidavit of Dr. Womack. Dr. Womack opined that the standard of care applicable to an elderly patient, such as Perkins, who presents with continued pain in the pelvic and hip areas despite negative x-ray, is to order a CT scan or MRI of the pelvis in order to catch fractures that x-rays miss. He also opined that Defendants breached that standard of care by not ordering a CT or MRI of Perkins’ pelvis.”
“This is evidence that supports Perkins’ ability to carry her burden to prove two of the three elements of a medical malpractice claim. However, Dr. Womack’s affidavit does not state what injuries Perkins suffered, if any. Further, as the trial court correctly found, there is nothing in Dr. Womack’s affidavit that Defendants’ breach is causally connected to Perkins’ alleged injuries. Accordingly, we find that Dr. Womack’s affidavit does not constitute supporting evidence that Perkins can carry her burden to prove the essential elements of her claim, that she suffered any injury by delaying her diagnosis by two hours or that a connection exists between Defendants’ alleged breach of the standard of care and her alleged injuries.”
Perkins v. Jennings American Legion Hospital, 21-344.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) as a result of hospital negligence in Louisiana or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Louisiana medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your hospital medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in Louisiana or in your U.S. state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.