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Supreme Court reinstates medical malpractice verdict

We reported earlier on this site about 16-year old Heather Swanson's malpractice verdict against the Port Huron Hospital and Jeannie L. Rowe, D.O.  Rowe had punctured Heather's aorta while inserting a needle into Heather's abdomen. It had been Rowe's intent to drain an ovarian cyst.  As a result of the tear in the aorta, surgeons had to open Heather's abdomen to effect a repair, leaving a large scar.  The jury awarded Heather a modest verdict, however, two judges of the Court of Appeals over-turned the verdict.

The Appeals Court majority held that Heather's Notice of Intent wasn't adequate because, while it criticized Rowe for failing to identify the aorta and other vital structures in Heather's abdomen, so that she didn't injure them, the Notice didn't adequately explain how Rowe "caused" Heather's injury.   The dissenting judge, Judge Peter O'Connell, recognized this as semantic nonsense and would have affirmed.  On appeal to the Supreme Court, Judge O'Connell and the trial judge were vindicated, when the Court reinstated the jury verdict over the defendant's objections regarding the adequacy of the pre-suit notice.

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