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Tipton v. Isaacs

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 5, 2014

BRENDA K. TIPTON, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET ISAACS, M.D., ST. VINCENT HOSPITAL AND HEALTHCARE CENTER, a/k/a ASCENSION HEALTH, CHRISTINA FRANCIS, M.D., and JAMES R. MINOR, M.D., Appellees-Defendants

Page 293

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Heather Welch, Judge. Cause No.49D12-1112-CT-49101.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MORRIS L. KLAPPER Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: LAURA K. BINFORD JAMES O. GIFFIN Riley Bennett & Egloff, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana.

MAY, Judge, KIRSCH, J., and BAILEY, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 294

MAY, Judge.

Brenda K. Tipton appeals summary judgment for various healthcare providers she sued after her hysterectomy. As the consent form Tipton signed is determinative of all issues she raises on appeal, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Tipton became a patient at St. Vincent Hospital Family Practice and OB/GYN Residency Clinic (" the Clinic" ) in 2004. On three occasions, once in 2004 and twice in 2007, she was informed the Clinic was a residency program and that:

Residents are medical doctors who have graduated from medical school and are receiving specialty training in the fields of . . . Women's Health . . . . Staff doctors oversee the care provided by the resident doctor. Every case is discussed with a staff doctor and the staff doctor may see or examine the patient as well.

(App. at 276.)

Dr. Margaret Isaacs, a resident, first examined Tipton at the clinic in March 2008. In July 2008, Dr. Isaacs and another doctor operated on Tipton, and the surgical findings indicated Tipton had an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. Tipton was advised of several options, and she decided to undergo a hysterectomy.

On September 25, 2008, the day of the hysterectomy at St. Vincent Hospital (" the Hospital" ), Tipton signed a " Consent to Surgery or Other Medical Procedure," ( id. at 218), that explicitly authorized Dr. Isaacs[1] " and such assistants as may be selected by him or her to perform the . . . [t]otal abdominal hysterectomy." ( Id.) She consented to " the presence, in the procedure room, of residents, interns, approved observers, students, and pharmacy, supply and equipment vendors who will witness and support the procedure being performed on me," ( id.), and to " the participation of medical, nursing, other health care students, residents, and interns in the procedure being performed on me. These individuals will participate under the direct supervision of my physician." ( Id.)

Dr. Isaacs, a resident, performed most of the surgery. She was present in the operating room during all of the surgery. Another resident, Dr. Christina Francis, performed the hysterectomy on one side of Tipton's body but did not participate in the operation on the other side, or in the opening or closing procedures. Dr. James Minor supervised both residents. He was present for and assisted in the entire procedure. On October 1, Tipton was readmitted to the Hospital and on October 5 she underwent further surgery because of wound drainage and swelling.

Tipton brought a medical malpractice complaint against the Hospital and Doctors

Page 295

Isaacs, Francis, and Minor (collectively, " the doctors" ) after completion of medical review panel proceedings. She alleged (1) the " failure of Dr. Francis to obtain any consent at all before performing surgery on [Tipton] was a battery," ( id. at 62), (2) the Hospital and each of the doctors had a duty to obtain her informed consent for the surgery, including " disclosure of the identities and qualifications of all physicians involved in performing the procedure, and the fact that Doctors Isaacs and Francis were still in training, ( id. at 63), and (3) Doctors Francis, Isaacs, and Minor were liable for " actual or constructive fraud or deceit," ( id.), because Dr. Francis entered the operating room, performed surgery, and left while Tipton was unconscious, " intentionally depriving her of the opportunity to be advised of or object to Dr. Francis performing surgery on ...


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