Owosso woman wins 9-year old malpractice claim
Sue Apsey sued her radiologist and Owosso Memorial Hospital in Shiawassee County after her abdominal x-ray was mis-read. She was left with lifelong crippling injuries because the doctor failed to recognize a perforated bowel and leak that was apparent in her x-rays. Although the jury last week awarded her $2.9 million dollars, tort-"reform" caps will limit her to receiving less than one million dollars, according to her attorney.
The case was held up for many years by the Defendants' claim that the physician's affidavit of merit she filed with her complaint was inadequate. Attorneys for the radiology group claimed that compliance with 1970s procedural rules governing affidavits was not sufficient, and that a malpractice affidavit must also comply with a statute from the 19th century that requires attestation of the notary's authority. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals held that only malpractice affidavits must meet the last century statute's additional standards, but that the rule should be applied only to future cases. Eventually the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation, and enforced the plain language of the later statute giving full faith and credit to all notarizations, whether executed in Michigan or elsewhere. Defense attorneys who were being sued or criticized for not raising the (absurd) defensive argument that the 19th century law should control interpretation of the later statute joined in Ms. Apsey's appeal and very likely influenced the Engler Majority's decision in the Supreme Court.
At least Sue Apsey, now 65, will achieve some vindication for her tenacious pursuit of justice. Many weaker victims with less dogged attorneys have given up on their claims during the past decade.