Another malpractice case dismissed
Keena Pannell was admitted to St. John Hospital Center for gall bladder surgery and was discharged a week later with a disfiguring permanent burn scar on her forehead. No one could explain how the burn occurred during surgery, apparently, and Keena's attorneys were apparently so complacent that they failed to file a timely witness list disclosing the names of expert witnesses they intended to call to prove the case. As a result, the trial court dismissed Keena's claim in its entirety.
She appealed, arguing that it was not necessary to call an expert witness in order to prove that someone was negligent in inflicting a disfiguring permanent forehead burn scar on a gall bladder patient. The Court of Appeals agreed that Keena probably did not need expert witnesses to prove her case, but refused to overturn the lower court's dismissal of her case. In essence, the judges held that her attorney's dereliction was so great that she forfeited her opportunity to appeal the lower court's decision. Hopefully, her legal malpractice claim will fare better than the medical malpractice claim did.