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Wanda Ditch, Administratrix of Estate of Catherine S. Verdier v. Waynesboro Hospital

January 18, 2011

WANDA DITCH, ADMINISTRATRIX OF ESTATE OF CATHERINE S. VERDIER, APPELLANT
v.
WAYNESBORO HOSPITAL, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered January 8, 2007 at No. 2111 MDA 2007 Affirming the Order of the Franklin/Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, entered November 21, 2005 at No. 2004-335.

Per curiam.

ARGUED: April 14, 2010

ORDER

AND NOW, this 18th day of January, 2011, the Order of the Superior Court is AFFIRMED.

Madame Justice Orie Melvin did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Madame Justice Todd files a dissenting statement.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA MIDDLE DISTRICT

WANDA DITCH, ADMINISTRATRIX OF ESTATE OF CATHERINE S. VERDIER, Appellant v. WAYNESBORO HOSPITAL, Appellee

No. 99 MAP 2007

Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered on January 8, 2007 at No. 2111 MDA 2005 affirming the Order of the Franklin/Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, entered on November 21, 2005 at No. 2004-335

ARGUED: April 14, 2010

DISSENTING STATEMENT

MADAME JUSTICE TODD

FILED: January 18, 2011

I respectfully dissent from the Majority's affirmance of the Superior Court's decision by per curiam order, which terminates a potentially meritorious cause of action for failure to file a certificate of merit. In doing so, the Court declines to confront and resolve a significant issue of statewide importance that has not been addressed by our Court  the question of how to define the distinction between ordinary negligence and professional negligence in the health care setting. This is a question our sister states have themselves struggled to resolve.

In this matter, the complaint  premised upon the basic allegation that a patient fell from her bed  raises, in my view, a claim of garden-variety negligence, and not professional negligence, therefore, not requiring a certificate of merit. Instead, the lower tribunals, now with this Court's approval, have converted the requirement of a certificate of merit, intended as a shield against frivolous professional negligence actions, into a procedural sword to strike potentially valid claims sounding in common negligence. Thus, for the reasons set forth below, (1) I would address the gray area of how to define the distinction between ordinary negligence and professional negligence in this context; and (2) on the merits, I would find the complaint before us raises, ...


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