Peter Strickholm, Leila Strickholm (Mother and Guardian), and Alfred Strickholm (Father and Guardian), Appellants/Petitioners,
Anonymous Nurse Practitioner, Appellee/Respondent, and Anonymous Practice Group and Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance, Third-Party Appellees/Respondents.
from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Michael D.
Keele, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49D07-1802-MI-4253
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS Fred Schultz Gerald Mayer Greene
& Schultz Bloomington, Indiana
ATTORNEY FOR AMICUS CURIAE INDIANA TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Jerry Garau Garau Germano, P.C. Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE ANONYMOUS NURSE PRACTITIONER Robert C.
Brandt Courtney David Mills Riley Bennett Egloff LLP
On December 1, 2015, Anonymous Nurse Practitioner
("Anonymous NP") saw Peter Strickholm at Anonymous
Practice Group in Bloomington and prescribed
to control his high blood pressure. On December 8, 2015,
Peter returned to Anonymous Practice Group, and a licensed
practical nurse ("LPN") checked his blood pressure
and noted it in an electronic report. On December 11, 2015,
at the latest, Anonymous NP reviewed the report and approved
it without ordering any further testing or any other change
in Peter's course of treatment. On December 15, 2015,
Peter was admitted to a hospital with low sodium levels and
suffered cardiopulmonary arrest the next day, resulting in
permanent cognitive impairment.
On December 4, 2017, Peter and his parents/guardians, Alfred
and Leila Strickholm (collectively, "the
Strickholms"), filed a proposed medical malpractice
complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance
("IDOI"). On February 1, 2018, Anonymous NP filed
her petition for preliminary determination of law and summary
judgment in the trial court. On March 1, 2019, the trial
court granted summary judgment in favor of Anonymous NP,
concluding that the designated evidence established that
Anonymous NP did not provide any medical care to Peter after
December 1, 2015, thus rendering the Strickholms'
complaint late by three days. The Strickholms contend,
inter alia, that the trial court abused its
discretion in entering summary judgment because there is a
genuine issue of material fact as to whether Anonymous NP
provided medical care to Peter after December 4, 2015.
Because we agree, we reverse and remand for trial.
and Procedural History
On October 29, 2015, the then-fifty-seven-year-old Peter saw
Anonymous NP for an "Establish New Patient" visit
at Anonymous Practice Group to establish her as a
primary-care provider. Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 60.
Peter's blood pressure during the visit was 164/96 mmHg.
On December 1, 2015, Peter returned to Anonymous Practice
Group for a "Comprehensive Care Visit[, ]" and his
blood pressure this time was 176/94 mmHg at 8:05 a.m. and
179/100 mmHg at 8:25 a.m. Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 58.
Anonymous NP prescribed Lisinopril-HCTZ to Peter to control
his high blood pressure and recommended that he return for a
blood pressure check the next week.
On December 8, 2015, Peter again returned to Anonymous
Practice Group for a "Nurse Check" to have his
blood pressure checked. Although there is some dispute as to
whether Anonymous NP was present that day, the blood pressure
check was conducted by an LPN. Peter's blood pressure was
140/110 mmHg. The LPN electronically conveyed the test result
to a physician in the office. The physician responded
electronically and stated, "systolic much improved but
diastolic still high, would recheck in 1-2 weeks and if still
elevated then increase lisinopril[.]" Appellant's
App. Vol. II p. 214. On December 11, 2015, at the latest,
Anonymous NP electronically reviewed and approved the
LPN's report of the "Nurse Check" but did not
recommend any further testing or treatment at the time.
Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 56.
On December 15, 2015, Peter arrived at the Bloomington
Hospital emergency room with altered mental status. Peter was
diagnosed with, inter alia, hyponatremia, or low
sodium. Peter was admitted, and the next day he suffered
cardiopulmonary arrest in the Hospital's intensive-care
unit. Peter was revived, but he had suffered a hypoxic event
which caused cognitive impairment.
On December 4, 2017, the Strickholms filed their proposed
complaint against Anonymous NP with the IDOI. The Strickholms
alleged medical negligence, specifically that Anonymous NP
had breached the relevant standard of care in her treatment
of Peter up to and through at least December 8, 2015, causing
harm to Peter Strickholm. On February 1, 2018, Anonymous NP
filed her petition for preliminary determination of law and
summary judgment in the trial court. Anonymous NP alleged
that the cause of action filed by the Strickholms was not
timely filed and alleged that the last day she provided any
health care to Peter was December 1, 2015, when she
prescribed the Lisinopril-HCTZ.
On February 6, 2019, the trial court heard argument on
Anonymous NP's motion for preliminary determination of
law and summary judgment and, on March 1, 2019, granted
summary judgment in favor of Anonymous NP. Id. at
12, 13. The trial court concluded that the designated
evidence established as a matter of law that Anonymous NP did
not provide any medical care to Peter after December 1, 2015,
thus rendering the Strickholms' complaint late by three
days. Specifically, the trial court concluded that (1) the
continuing-wrong doctrine did not apply to Anonymous NP's
single act of prescribing Lisinopril-HCTZ to Strickholm; (2)
Anonymous NP did not provide any health care to Peter on