Court holds that Medical Director with office in dialysis clinic was not the "apparent agent" of the Clinic
In a startling ruling, the Court of Appeals upheld the summary disposition of a claim against a dialysis clinic, based on its Medical Director's failure to monitor the Gentamicin he had prescribed. It has been well known for decades that Gentamicin can cause inner ear damage in long-term dosing, and that it must be monitored; despite this knowledge, the victim, Dr. William Bristol, was given four or five weeks of the antimicrobial without monitoring--and he suffered permanent, severe inner ear damage. He sued the dialysis clinic and the Medical Director who prescribed the drug.
The Clinic argued that the Medical Director was an "independent contractor" and that since the victim had a pre-existing professional relationship with the Director's partner in their private practice, the victim had no basis to believe that the Medical Director prescribed the medication as an agent of the dialysis clinic. The Court of Appeals agreed and upheld the summary disposition of Dr. Bristol's malpractice claim for his vestibular injury. The Court held that even though the prescribing doctor was the Medical Director of the Clinic and had an office there, and even though the medication was administered at the Clinic, the victim, Bristol, had no basis to perceive that he was an agent of the Clinic--and a jury could not reasonably reach the conclusion that he did. The Court deemed it irrelevant that it appeared that the doctor was "in charge" of the Clinic, because he never said that he was a clinic employee.