Appellate court reinstates malpractice case against gastroenterologist
The family of Vilma Bandy filed a lawsuit against Oakwood Hospital and Ben Scheinfeld, M.D., arguing that Scheinfeld breached the standard of care in responding to Bandy's two visits to the Oakwood Hospital complaining of rectal bleeding. Bandy was seen in the Oakwood E.R. twice during September, 2005, and Scheinfeld was consulted on each occasion. She bled so severely that the suffered hypovolemic shock during the second hospital admission, suffered a stroke and became ventilator dependent. She died several weeks later. Her family complained that there were specific tests and actions that Scheinfeld should have undertaken given Bandy's symptoms, and that the failure to follow through on these actions resulted in Bandy's death.
The trial court dismissed the Bandy Estate wrongful death claim on a motion by the doctor's insurer's attorneys. The court ruled that the Notice of Intent (NOI) filed by the family was defective in that it did not assign to various doctors individual responsibility for the allegedly negligent breaches of the standard of care. Relying on the Supreme Court's recent decision in Bush v. Shabahang, the Court of Appeals reinstated the family's claim. The Court noted that the family's attorneys had made a good faith effort to apprise the Defendants of the nature of the family's claims, and that the sophisticated medical personnel were more than capable of ascertaining which of the alleged breaches they had participated in personally. Since the defendants had suffered no injury to their substantial rights, any alleged technical defect in the (early stage) good-faith NOI should be amended or ignored.