Indiana Court of Appeals Clarifies the Confusion Surrounding the K.D. vs. Chambers Holding
In 2011, in a case entitled K.D. vs. Chambers, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a controversial decision that defense lawyers argued stood for the proposition that a medical malpractice plaintiff is precluded from presenting a theory of recovery at trial unless that theory was presented to the Medical Review Panel. The K.D. vs. Chambers decision can be found at K.D. and Michelle Campbell vs. Adrianne Chambers, R.N. et al. Fortunately, the Indiana Court of Appeals recently clarified the confusion surrounding what evidence must be presented to a medical review panel in order to preserve a particular theory of recovery at trial in the McKeen v. Turner decision.
On October 4, 2016 the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision to deny a motion to strike expert witness testimony after finding that a man could present certain evidence to prove medical malpractice against his now-deceased wife’s former physician.
Rowena Turner had been diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 1998 which put her at risk for blood clots. Later she found out that she had malignant tumors in her colon. Upon the advice of Dr. Charles McKeen she had surgery on her colon in 2008. There were several complications and Turner died a week later.
Turner's husband, Billy Turner filed suit against Dr. McKeen in 2010 and submitted materials to the medical review panel in 2011. Billy Turner's submission did not mention however blood thinners that McKeen prescribed for Rowena Turner. Billy Turner then hired an expert witness and filed a supplemental expert witness designation, which disclosed anticipated testimony from Dr. Robert Manges, an expert hematologist, to speak on the blood thinners issue. McKeen moved to strike this expert but was denied.
McKeen appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals who ruled that there are only two requirements to raise new issues of the standard of care: the complaint must encompass the theories raised at the trial, and “evidence” related to those theories must have been presented to the panel. Because Billy Turner provided the panel with his wife’s full medical records, his court complaint met both of those requirements, the appellate court wrote. The case has been remanded for further trial court proceedings.
The link to the Indiana Court of Appeals decision is: Charles McKeen, M.D. vs. Billy Turner