Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Motions

Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Motions

On October 6, 2011, Defendants filed Motions in Limine and Memorandum in Support in Shirley Frazier Shakshober v. Riverside Hospital, Inc., et al., No. CL08-296 in Circuit Court for he City of Newport News, Virginia, toward keeping from the jury twelve (12) points of evidence at trial. Since filing that patient fall lawsuit, Plaintiff has resumed her pre-marital name, Shirley Frazier Burrell.

1. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence of other lawsuits, claims, and verdicts against Riverside. Riverside has been sued for medical malpractice on multiple occasions by Plaintiff’s lawyer (not to mention even more by numerous other attorneys), including particularly for another serious patient fall case that resulted in a roughly $1,670,000.00 verdict for that victim in 2005, which was upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court in 2006, Riverside Hospital, Inc. v. Johnson, 272 Va. 518 (2006).

2. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence of other patient falls at Riverside. For example, Riverside’s computer database in Riverside Hospital, Inc. v. Johnson indicates that literally hundreds of in-patients fall annually at Riverside Regional Medical Center alone, and that roughly 10% of those result in serious brain or other personal injury.

3. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence its so-called Committee Meeting Minutes for Plaintiff’s patient fall. In addition to various so-called “incident reports” and like documents, Riverside kept minutes of its committee meeting about Plaintiff and her fall, some of which after evidentiary hearing the Court already ruled were not privileged from disclosure.

4. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence of what was taught by nursing faculty to nursing students at Riverside School of Professional Nursing and at Riverside School of Practical Nursing in 2006 before, at, and after the patient fall of Plaintiff. Textbooks, syllabi, videotapes, handouts and/or other course materials of Riverside actually support what Plaintiff and her nursing expert state was the prevailing nursing standard of care in Virginia vis-à-vis fall risk assessment and fall risk intervention at the time of Plaintiff falling and being injured.

5. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence of Riverside’s internal training and orientation materials about patient falls. The fact is that Riverside’s Orientation program, staff development instruction, in-services, and “computer based learning” (“CBL”) materials required for Riverside’s nurses in 2006 actually support what Plaintiff and her nursing expert state is the prevailing nursing standard of care in Virginia vis-à-vis fall risk assessment and fall risk intervention at the time of Plaintiff falling and being injured.

6. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence related to complaints about nursing staffing, nursing shortages or like nursing deficiencies, such as about nurse-to-patient ratios. In particular, they seek to exclude from jury consideration in this medical malpractice case a prior complaint of another patient.

7. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude evidence regarding “causation” by Plaintiff’s standard of care nursing expert. Plaintiff’s expert nurse testified how Defendants giving the patient the narcotic Dilaudid shortly before her patient fall contributed to the patient falling by causing disorientation and confusion; plus Defendants also gave the patient Ambien the evening before.

8. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude from evidence Plaintiff’s orthopaedic surgeon providing causation opinions that are very favorable to her. Specifically, they want to exclude from jury consideration her orthopaedic surgery expert testifying that the repair surgery under general anesthesia necessitated by the patient fall aggravated her neurological condition and increased her neurological deficit.

9. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude from evidence Plaintiff’s anesthesia expert providing causation opinions that are very favorable to her. Specifically, they want to exclude from jury consideration her anesthesia expert testifying the patient suffered a stroke during the repair surgery under general anesthesia that she had to undergo because of the patient fall.

10. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude from evidence Plaintiff introducing testimony by their own nursing standard of care expert about whether physical restraints appropriately were used on her after the patient fall. One of Defendants’ nursing experts already has opined that it was appropriate for Defendants to use a posey vest on the patient after, but not before, she fell.

11. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude from evidence the fact that Defendant Nurse Ames and other healthcare providers of Plaintiff left the employment of Riverside at various points after the patient fall. Instead, they prefer jury expectation, assumption and/or speculation that all of the individual nurses and other healthcare providers of the patient still are (longtime) employees of Riverside.

12. Riverside Defendants seek to preclude from evidence a pharmacy medication issue involving Plaintiff while she was an in-patient of Riverside during 2000. Specifically, although Riverside destroyed all of her patient chart for that 2000 admission, an “incident report” survived and was discovered by Plaintiff after her patient fall in 2006.