Monday, September 09, 2013

Unimaginable: Lose their kidney and then seek to recover court costs

Doug Wojcieszak over at Sorry Works! retells the sad story of a hospital, University of Toledo Medical Center, that mistakenly disposed of a kidney being donated from one sibling to another.  He draws excellent conclusions about the nature of disclosure and apology.  The article is worth reading for Doug's insights alone.

But the article also contains an amazing tidbit.  Here goes:

According to the [Toledo] Blade article and a story by Good Morning America, the hospital was initially very open with the family and accommodating, including the assistance finding another kidney.  But, things broke down when the Ohio Attorney General's Office, which is representing this university hospital, thought the family's additional requests for assistance were unreasonable.  Now the AG's office is trying to dismiss a suit by the family by claiming the hospital was not negligent and seeking to recover costs.

The Blade article actually says something a bit different about the medical negligence portion of the case:

The medical center on Tuesday filed an answer to the Fudacz family lawsuit, in which it acknowledged the organ was discarded but denies some of the Fudacz claims. The document ends with a request to dismiss the Fudacz complaint in its entirety at the plaintiffs' cost. UTMC also on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the Fudacz complaint – specially two parts of the lawsuit that claim: “parental loss of consortium” and “sibling loss of consortium.” The motion to dismiss did not ask the court to dismiss the first count of the lawsuit, which claims medical negligence.

The UTMC motion to dismiss states the Fudacz family has “no right to compensation for parental loss of consortium of an adult." The medical center also said, “there is no right to compensation for sibling loss of consortium in a nondeath case.”

AG Mike DeWine
I'm not qualified to comment on the legal niceties of what kind of complaints are justified in this kind of case, but would you really want to be an elected Attorney General who seeks to recover court costs from a family that has gone through this kind of ordeal?  What possible negotiating advantage could be achieved in that regard, especially if you desire--as you clearly should--to settle the negligence portion of the case?

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