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Giles v. Anonymous Physician I

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 21, 2014

JAMES GILES, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of RUTH GILES, deceased. Appellant/Plaintiff,
v.
ANONYMOUS PHYSICIAN I, ANONYMOUS CORPORATION I, ANONYMOUS HOSPITAL I, ANONYMOUS PHYSICIAN II, ANONYMOUS CORPORATION II, ANONYMOUS PHYSICIAN III, ANONYMOUS CORPORATION III, ANONYMOUS PHYSICIAN IV, ANONYMOUS CORPORATION IV, ANONYMOUS PHYSICIAN V, ANONYMOUS CORPORATION V Appellees/Defendants

APPEAL FROM THE BARTHOLOMEW SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Kathleen Tighe Coriden, Judge. Cause No. 03D02-1207-CT-3827.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: J. KEVIN KING, PETER CAMPBELL KING, Cline, King & King, P.C., Columbus, Indiana; GEORGE HOFFMAN, III, Hoffman & Newcomb, Franklin, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: CHRISTOPHER L. RIEGLER, KIMBERLY A. EMIL, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana.

PYLE, Judge. MATHIAS, J., and BRADFORD, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 505

PYLE, Judge

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

This appeal involves a preliminary determination in a medical malpractice case filed in the county court while the case was pending before the Indiana Department of Insurance (" IDOI" ). Anonymous Physician I (" Hospitalist" )[1] and Anonymous Corporation I (" Medical Corporation" )--after being sued by James Giles (" Giles" ), individually and as executor of the estate of Ruth Giles, deceased (" Ruth" )--moved for summary judgment on the basis that Hospitalist owed no duty to Ruth because he did not treat her or have a physician-patient relationship with her. Giles now appeals the trial court's order granting summary judgment to Hospitalist and Medical Corporation.[2]

We affirm.

Page 506

ISSUE

Whether the trial court erred by granting summary judgment to Hospitalist based on a determination that there was no physician-patient relationship and, thus, no duty.

FACTS

The facts most favorable to Giles, the non-moving party in this summary judgment proceeding, reveal that on August 1, 2010, fifty-seven-year-old Ruth fell and broke her nose. On August 4, 2010, she consulted Anonymous Physician IV (" ENT Surgeon" ) about her nose. ENT Surgeon diagnosed Ruth with a deviated nasal fracture and recommended that she have a closed nasal reduction surgery.

On August 11, 2010, Ruth went to Anonymous Hospital (" Hospital" ) to have the outpatient nasal surgery. The surgery lasted ten minutes, starting at 12:29 p.m. and ending at 12:39 p.m. Anonymous Physician II (" Anesthesiologist" ) stopped Ruth's anesthesia at 12:47 p.m. The surgery was completed without any major complications.

After the surgery, Ruth was taken to the hospital's recovery room or post anesthesia care unit (" PACU" ). While in the PACU, Ruth had individual nursing care from a nurse (" PACU Nurse" ) and was under the general care of Anesthesiologist, who was charged with taking care of issues with Ruth's heart, lungs, blood pressure, and recovery from sedation.

Upon arriving in the PACU, Ruth had a lowered level of oxygen saturation. Later, her blood pressure began to lower, and she complained to PACU Nurse of chest pain. Anesthesiologist ordered an EKG, which showed a " normal rhythmic beat" and did not show any sign of " ischemia." (App. 130).[3] Ruth's blood pressure remained low, and Anesthesiologist ordered the administration of increased fluids and ephedrine to help increase her blood pressure. Due to Ruth's continued low oxygen saturation levels, ...


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