Widower Challenges Indiana's Medical Malpractice Cap

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A lost X-ray lead to the death of 47 year old woman and a Marion County jury returned a verdict of $ 8.5 million against Community Hospital of Indianapolis in Cause number: 49C01-0311-CT-003130 . Timothy Plank, the husband of the late Debbie Plank, authorized his attorneys to file a challenge to Indiana's long standing cap on medical malpractice injuries. Indiana's current medical malpractice law limits awards to $1.25 million.Mr. Plank plans to put a substantial portion of the award into the Deborah L Plank Memorial Scholarship, administered by the Hancock County (Indiana) Community Foundation (http://www.hccf.cc).

Are you satisfied with the hospital's care?

Attorneys for Timothy Plank, the husband of the late Debbie Plank, filed a challenge to Indiana's long standing cap on medical malpractice injuries. Indiana's current medical malpractice law limits awards to $1.25 million. On September 3, 2009, a Marion County jury returned a verdict of $ 8.5 million against Community Hospital of Indianapolis. Community Hospital had misplaced an x-ray that showed that Mrs. Plank had a small bowel obstruction.

The widower said, "I am doing this to help others in this situation, not for the money." Mr. Plank plans to put a substantial portion of the award into the Deborah L Plank Memorial Scholarship, administered by the Hancock County (Indiana) Community Foundation (http://www.hccf.cc). The Scholarship funds are directed to help Hancock County college students attend the college of their choice. Deborah L. Plank Memorial Scholarship information is available at http://www.hccf.cc/otherscholar.asp

The case details are: Debbie Plank went to Community North Hospital Emergency Room three times complaining of abdominal pains. On the morning of November 13, 2001, she was admitted. An x-ray was taken that showed a small bowel obstruction (which could be a surgical emergency). Normal hospital procedure called for the radiology department to call the treating physicians to alert them to the condition. It was not done in this case. The patient was seen by a surgeon and gastroenterologist who did not know she had an obstruction. The treating doctors went to the radiology department, but could not find the film. It was misplaced. As a result, the treating doctors did not know of the condition, and the surgery was delayed 24 hours. When the surgery was performed the following day, the surgeon found that part of the patient's intestine had died. Mrs. Plank was placed on life support, but passed away on 12/1/01. She was 47.

The key to the case is that a small bowel obstruction can be life threatening

The widower of McCordsville, Indiana was angered when the hospital contacted him with a customer satisfaction survey after his wife's death and wanted to talk to her about how she liked her care while in the hospital. The hospital representative asked him, "Are you satisfied with the hospital's care?" The plaintiff said he didn't file the lawsuit for the money, but rather the lack of awareness of the error and lack of apology from the hospital.

The Medical Malpractice cap challenge Cause number: 49C01-0311-CT-003130 was filed in Marion Circuit Court, Marion County, Indiana and is based on two areas of the Indiana Constitution.
Section 20. Civil cases--Right of trial by jury
In all civil cases, the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

Section 23. Equal privileges and immunities
The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

The Plank case was tried and the cap challenge will be tried together by John Muller of http://www.4mklaw.com (Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy) 317-574-4500 and Mike Stephenson of http://www.msth.com (McNeely, Stephenson, Thopy & Harold) 317-825-5110

For more information, contact:

Steve Barry
317-545-4534

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