Supreme Court hears Larson v. Wasemiller arguments
MINNEAPOLIS, 9:57 a.m. CDT April 13, 2007 -- The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week for the case Larson v. Wasemiller.
Prior to the hearing, the MMA continuted advocating for its members by filing a second Amicus brief, along with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the American Medical Assocation.
To summarize the facts of the case:
Patient Mary Larson developed complications after undergoing bariatric surgery at St. Francis Medical Center in Breckenridge. Ms. Larson filed a malpractice suit against two surgeons for their post-surgery care, and later added St. Francis Medical Center as a defendant.
In her compliant, Larson alleged that the hospital knew or should have known before the surgery took place that one of the surgeons posed an unreasonable danger of harm to bariatric surgery patients.
She further alleged that St. Francis Medical Center breached its duty of care and was therefore negligent in granting surgery privileges to James Wasemiller, M.D., thereby causing her to suffer damages.
Thus the issue was raised: Should Minnesota recognize a common law cause of action for negligent credentialing or privileging of a physician? The District Court determined that Minnesota’s peer review statutes (§§144.63 - .64¬) do not grant immunity from such actions, nor do they limit the liability of a hospital from the claim. The judge certified the issue however, which allowed St. Francis Medical Center to seek immediate appellate review of the decision.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the decision in part, holding that Minnesota does not recognize a cause of action for negligent credentialing or privileging, and, that although the peer review statutes do not grant immunity to a hospital from this type of claim, the statutes do limit the liability.
The Appellate Court declined to define the parameters of the limitation, and instead deferred that analysis to either the Minnesota Supreme Court or to the legislature. This was an outstanding result for physicians and hospitals in Minnesota.
Larson appealed the decision further however, and on Monday of this week, the Minnesota Supreme Court considered the issues again.