Medical malpractice claim is not dismissed summarily
Rick Smith, M.D. and his company, Michigan Plastic Surgery, attempted to summarily dismiss Melissa McConiha's malpractice claim in Ingham County Circuit Court. The local judge refused to dismiss the claim and Smith appealed. McConiha's claim essentially claimed mismanagement of her breast reduction surgery that caused complications and multiple repair surgeries and procedures stretching from May of 2004 through September of 2007, when suit was filed. She did not achieve significant improvement in the appearance of her right breast until a further corrective surgery was performed by another doctor in 2009.
The Defendants sought to dismiss various elements of McConiha's claim, based on statements made by her expert witnesses during discovery. The higher court agreed that the experts had failed to support any claim arising before October of 2005 and that several of the plaintiff's original allegations were not supported by the plastic surgeons who testified on her behalf. Nevertheless, the judges agreed that she may present some of the related evidence in order to provide a factual context for her remaining claims. It also held that the Defendants were unduly minimizing and misinterpreting the claims made by McConiha's experts with regard to her remaining allegations. The Court held that her claims that Smith erred in his response to evidence of infection in the breast should go to the jury because there was ample expert testimony to support them. It also held that she had presented enough evidence to allow her claim of inadequate informed consent to go to the jury. Her experts testified that Smith should have informed her more fully with regard to his experience and the relative ineffectiveness of fat grafting under the circumstances presented by her.