MA: panel ordered case v. RN dismissed: appellate court ordered reinstatement of case.

AuthorTammelleo, A. David
PositionLegal Case Briefs for Nurses - Case overview

CASE FACTS: Samantha Donaldson was alleged to have suffered Erbs Palsy in her right shoulder and arm as a result of an improperly performed shoulder dystocia delivery. Kathleen Payne, a Registered Nurse, was among several health care providers attending to Samantha's delivery, including doctors, nurses and other health care providers. A medical malpractice tribunal determined that the plaintiff's offer of proof as to the liability of Nurse Payne was insufficient. The plaintiffs offer of proof consisted of labor and delivery records of Caritas Good Samaritan Hospital, Medical and rehabilitation records of the plaintiff, and an opinion letter (with attached curriculum vitae) prepared by Dr. Howard Cohn. Dr. Conn's letter stated, in relevant part, that the care and treatment rendered by Nurse Payne fell below the accepted standard of care at the time for the average qualified Registered Nurse. In particular. Dr. Cohn noted that Nurse Payne failed to properly document her knowledge of the presence of shoulder dystocia prior to and after delivery; failed to immediately call for and obtain additional assistance during delivery from qualified medical staff, including but not limited to a neonatologist, anesthesiologist and nursing staff; failed to properly document and obtain additional qualified medical professionals to assist in the performance of the McRoberts Maneuver; and failed to properly assist in the delivery of the baby. Separate final judgment entered for Nurse Payne after the plaintiff failed to post bond. Plaintiff appealed.

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COURT'S OPINION: The Appeals Court of Massachusetts remanded the case to the Superior Court after vacating the separate judgment dismissing the plaintiff's complaint against Nurse Payne, and in substitution thereof, a determination entered that the offer of proof made by the plaintiff was sufficient to raise a legitimate question of liability appropriate for judicial inquiry. The...

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