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CALLE v. YORK HOSPITAL

November 27, 2002

JOSE CALLE AND LUZ CALLE, PLAINTIFFS,
V.
YORK HOSPITAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is a motion for summary judgment (doc. 33) filed by defendants Cardiac Diagnostic Associates and Dr. Jay Nicholson ("Nicholson defendants"). The motion has been fully briefed, oral argument on the motion was conducted on September 24, 2002,*fn1 and the motion is now ripe for disposition.

I. Factual Background

This is a medical malpractice case. Plaintiffs' claims against the Nicholson defendants arise out of their allegedly negligent treatment of Plaintiff Jose Calle's myocardial infarction on August 14, 1999. (Doe. 35,¶ 27). The following material facts are undisputed.*fn2

Plaintiffs Jose and Luz Calle commenced the above-captioned medical malpractice action on August 13, 2001 by filing a complaint against York Hospital and Dr. Boglarka Szabo. In their original complaint, plaintiffs contended that York Hospital and Dr. Szabo were negligent in their care and treatment of Mr. Calle on August 14, 1999. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on November 28, 2001, in which they dropped Dr. Szabo as a defendant and added the Nicholson defendants. In their amended complaint, plaintiffs allege that the Nicholson defendants were negligent in their care and treatment of Mr. Calle on August 14, 1999 in the following respects:

(1) failing to use anti-coagulant drug therapy; (2) failing to refer Mr. Calle to a catheterization lab; and (3) failing to perform an angioplasty.

(Doe. 15, ¶¶ 21, 23 and 27). The allegations of negligence contained in plaintiffs' November 28, 2001 amended complaint arise out of the same set of operative facts as the allegations of negligence contained in plaintiffs' initial (August 13, 2001) complaint.

Dr. Nicholson's role in the care and treatment of Mr. Calle began on August 14, 1999 when he reviewed Mr. Calle's electrocardiogram. See doc 49, exhibit A, Deposition of Jay Nicholson, M.D., pp. 33-35 ("Nicholson Dep."). On August 14, 1999, Dr. Nicholson also discussed the management of Mr. Calle's care with Dr. Kathleen B. Kay. See doc. 51, exhibit C, History & Physical Examination/Progress Notes of Kathleen B. Kay, M.D., pg. 2. On August 15, 1999, Dr. Nicholson saw Mr. Calle for the first time, whereupon he obtained Mr. Calle's consent for a heart catheterization. Nicholson Dep. at 55-59. On August 16, 1999, Dr. Nicholson performed Mr. Calle's heart catheterization and, thereafter, discussed the results of the procedure with Mr. Calle. Id. at 74-75.

In September 1999, while in prison in Kentucky, Mr. Calle began treating with Dr. David C. Booth. J. Calle Dep. I at 43.44. Mr. Calle recalls that Dr. Booth asked him in September 1999 why the doctors at York Hospital did not "do something" for him. Id. Dr. Booth's September 24, 1999 consultation report, which Dr. Booth read into the record at his deposition, states in pertinent part as follows: The patient did not receive reperfusion treatment... should have received reperfusion treatment on August 14, 1999. . ..*fn3 Doc. 49, Exhibit A, Deposition of David C. Booth, M.D., pp. 16-17, 19 ("Booth Dep.").

In October 1999, Mr. Calle began treating with Dr. Booth's colleague, Dr. Pedro Moreno. See doc. 36, exhibit K, Deposition of Pedro Moreno, M.D., pp. 21-22, 37 ("Moreno Dep."). Mr. Calle's case was presented at an October 1999 catheterization conference attended by Dr. Moreno where it was decided that Mr. Calle should be scheduled for elective angioplasty in January 2000. Id. at 22-42. Dr. Moreno, who speaks Spanish, developed a relationship with Mr. Calle's family, Id. at 22. On January 28, 2000, Dr. Moreno performed an unsuccessful angioplasty on Mr. Calle. Id. at 44, 50-51. Mr. Calle recalls Dr. Moreno explaining on January 28, 2000 that the angioplasty was unsuccessful because "it wasn't done sooner." J. Calle Dep. I at 44.

Plaintiff was "awakened" to the possibility that his injury was caused by York Hospital and his doctors on January 28, 2000. See doc. 48, p. 13 ("Mr. Calle neither knew nor should have known of his injury prior to his awakening with Dr. Moreno on January 28, 2000.").

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A fact that will affect the outcome of the case under the governing law is "material." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "In determining whether an issue of material fact exists, the court must consider all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." ...


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