Articles Posted in Health Law

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Appellant was the defendant in a criminal case in which he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and found to be a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order. In 2014, Appellant filed a motion asserting that the trial court lacked authority to order his original commitment. The trial court denied relief, and Appellant appealed. In 2015, Appellant filed a motion to terminate his involuntary confinement. The trial court stayed the action pending the outcome of Appellant’s appeal from the denial of the 2014 motion. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition for writs of mandamus and procedendo requesting that the trial court judge be ordered either to grant or hold a hearing on the 2015 motion. The court of appeals ultimately affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 2014 motion. In 2016, the court of appeals dismissed Appellant’s petition for writs of mandamus and procedendo, concluding that the request for a writ of procedendo was moot and that the judge had not abused his discretion in issuing the stay. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the case was moot, and the the trial court did not err in failing to consider the 2015 motion earlier. View "State ex rel. Rohrer v. Holzapfel" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a pleading in the court of appeals entitled “Eighth Admendment [sic] Violation” seeking an order compelling a county jail to send medical records pertaining to treatment he received while he was there to the correctional institution where he is currently incarcerated. The court of appeals construed Appellant’s pleading as a petition for a writ of mandamus and then dismissed his case for failing to follow procedural requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals did not err by dismissing Appellant’s mandamus petition because he failed to comply with the mandatory filing requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2969.25. View "State v. Henton" on Justia Law

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Appellant’s father (Decedent) died after receiving surgery at Aultman Hospital. Appellant requested a copy of Decedent’s complete medical record. The Hospital produced the medical record that existed in the medical-records department. Dissatisfied with the Hospital’s response, Appellant filed this action to compel the production of Decedent’s complete medical record. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Hospital, concluding that the Hospital had produced the requested medical record, as defined by Ohio Rev. Code 3701.74(A)(8). The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the term “medical record” as that term is used in Ohio Rev. Code 3701.74 does not include all patient data but consists only of information maintained by the medical-records department. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) data that was generated in the process of the patient’s healthcare treatment and that pertains to the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, or medical condition qualifies as a “medical record”; but (2) “medical record” means any patient data “generated and maintained by a health care provider” without limitation as to the physical location or department where it is kept. Remanded. View "Griffith v. Aultman Hosp." on Justia Law

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In 2012, a principal of Lipson O’Shea Legal Group made a request for records from Cuyahoga County Board of Health (Cuyahoga County BOH) seeking documentation of homes in the County where a minor child was found to have elevated blood lead levels. Cuyahoga County BOH sought a declaratory judgment with respect to its obligations to maintain the confidentiality of the records sought by Lipson O’Shea. The trial court granted summary judgment for Cuyahoga County BOH, concluding that the release of the records was prohibited by Ohio Rev. Code 3701.01, which exempts from disclosure certain health information if the information could be used to reveal the individual’s identity. The court of appeals reversed, declaring that, rather than withholding all records, Cuyahoga County BOH must examine each document, redact any protected health information, and release any remaining unprotected information not otherwise excepted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that some of the information in the requested records prepared by the Cuyahoga County BOH is not protected health information, and therefore, it cannot be said that all of the information responsive to the request is protected. View "Cuyahoga County Bd. of Health v. Lipson O'Shea Legal Group" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging statutory retaliatory-discharge and common-law wrongful-discharge against Hospice of Southwest Ohio, Inc. for firing her for reporting suspected abuse or neglect and against Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. for inducing Hospice to fire her. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims, concluding, as relevant to this appeal, Plaintiff's retaliatory-discharge claim under Ohio Rev. Code 3721.24 failed because Plaintiff did not report the suspected abuse or neglect to the Ohio director of health. The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment to the extent it dismissed Plaintiff’s statutory retaliatory-discharge claim, holding that section 3721.24 does not require an employee or other person to report suspected abuse or neglect to the Ohio director of health in order to be protected from retaliation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an employee who reports suspected abuse or neglect of a long-term-care-facility or residential-care-facility resident is not required to report to the Ohio director of health in order to state a claim for retaliatory discharge under section 3721.24; and (2) in this case, Plaintiff’s reporting the suspected abuse or neglect to Brookdale and to the resident’s children triggered the protection of section 3721.24. View "Hulsmeyer v. Hospice of Southwest Ohio, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was Ohio Rev. Code 9.86, which provides immunity to state employees unless the employee acts manifestly outside the scope of employment, with malicious purpose, or in bad faith. Michael McNew visited the Ohio State University Medical Center (Center) complaining of a painful hemorrhoid, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. McNew consulted with Dr. Syed Husain, a faculty member who was also employed by the school's nonprofit medical-practice corporation, but neither a medical student nor a resident was present during the treatment. Four days after McNew was discharged, he died from an undiagnosed cerebral hemorrhage caused by thromboytopenia. Plaintiffs brought this action against the Center in the court of claims. Plaintiffs also filed a civil action against Husain in the common pleas court, which the court stayed pending a determination by the court of claims regarding Husain's immunity from suit. The court of claims concluded that Husain was immune from suit under section 9.86. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in treating McNew, Husain served the interests of the Center and acted within the scope of employment. Therefore, Husain was entitled to personal immunity pursuant to section 9.86. View "Ries v. Ohio State Univ. Med. Ctr." on Justia Law

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The probate court appointed a guardian for Appellant, who was found to be indigent, and placed him in a secured nursing facility. After 120 days had elapsed since the appointment of the guardian for Appellant, Appellant requested a review of the guardianship to review the continued necessity of the guardianship. A guardianship-review hearing was scheduled, but the court did not appoint counsel to represent Appellant for the hearing. Appellant filed a motion for the appointment of counsel at court expense. The probate court stated that that the request to appoint counsel would be considered at the review hearing. Appellant subsequently filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus to compel the probate court to appoint counsel for him for the review hearing, and the court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court reversed and granted the writ of mandamus to compel the probate court to appoint counsel to represent him in the guardianship-review proceeding, holding that Appellant established his entitlement to the requested relief. View "State ex rel. McQueen v. Court of Common Pleas" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved three rulings in a medical-malpractice trial. Appellee suffered a stroke during brain surgery performed at Appellant, the Cleveland Clinic. Appellee sued the clinic, claiming its surgeon had struck a ventricle, thus causing the stroke. A verdict was entered for the clinic. The court of appeals found the trial court abused its discretion in (1) allowing the clinic to use demonstrative evidence recreating the surgery that was provided to Appellee's counsel ten minutes before the expert using it testified; (2) ordering counsel for Branch not to argue an inference that because the best piece of evidence was not saved, it must have been adverse to the clinic; and (3) instructing the jury that evidence of alternative medical approaches was not evidence of negligence. the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the jury verdict for the clinic, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in any of the rulings at issue. View "Branch v. Cleveland Clinic Found." on Justia Law

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Appellants were defendants in a tort action instituted by Appellees, executors of a decedent's estate. Appellees' complaint alleged, inter alia, negligence, violation of the Ohio Nursing Home Patients' Bill of Rights, and wrongful death. Appellants filed motions to bifurcate the trial to separate Appellees' claims for compensatory damages from their claims for punitive damages. The common pleas court denied the motions. The court of appeals dismissed Appellants' appeal for lack of a final, appealable order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in dismissing the appeal, as the trial court's order denying Appellants' motions to bifurcate the trial constituted a final, appealable order pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2505.02(B)(6). Remanded for application of Havel v. Villa St. Joseph. View "Flynn v. Fairview Vill. Ret. Cmty., Ltd." on Justia Law

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Paula Eastley, as the administrator of the estate of her son, Steven Hieneman, filed an amended complaint against Dr. Paul Volkman and Tri-State Healthcare, LLC, the clinic where Volkman practiced, and Denise Huffman, doing business as Tri-State Health Care. The jury found that Volkman's medical malpractice and Huffman's negligence had proximately caused Hieneman's death, and the trial court entered judgment in Eastley's favor. The court of appeals affirmed. Although two of the three judges on the court found that based on an ordinary negligence theory, the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, a dissenting judge prevented a reversal by concluding that because Huffman had not renewed her motion for a directed verdict or filed a motion for new trial or for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, she had forfeited all but plain error review. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) when the evidence to be considered is in the court's record, motions are not required to challenge manifest weight of the evidence on appeal; and (2) in civil cases, the sufficiency of the evidence is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the weight of the evidence. Remanded for consideration of the issue based upon the appropriate standard. View "Eastley v. Volkman" on Justia Law