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Columbia North Hills Hospital Subsidiary, L.P. v. Bowen

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

January 30, 2014

COLUMBIA NORTH HILLS HOSPITAL SUBSIDIARY, L.P. D/B/A NORTH HILLS HOSPITAL APPELLANT
v.
LARRY G. BOWEN APPELLEE

FROM THE 17TH DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY

PANEL: LIVINGSTON, C.J.; DAUPHINOT and WALKER, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

LEE ANN DAUPHINOT, JUSTICE

This is an interlocutory appeal. The trial court denied a motion to dismiss the health care liability claims of Appellee Larry G. Bowen against Appellant Columbia North Hills Hospital Subsidiary, L.P. d/b/a North Hills Hospital (Hospital). Hospital brings four issues challenging the trial court's ruling on Hospital's objections to Bowen's expert report and its failure to dismiss Bowen's claims and award Hospital attorney's fees. Because we hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by overruling Hospital's objections, we affirm the trial court's order.

Background

The Injuries

Bowen sued Hospital, Dr. Dustin Ray, and others for injuries sustained in procedures that were supposed to address problems with his hand. Bowen alleged in his petition that in September 2010, he consulted Ray at Allied Orthopedic, DFW, P.A. for pain in his right thumb. At a subsequent visit, Ray determined that Bowen needed carpel tunnel surgery on his right hand.

At that same visit, Ray also tested Bowen's left hand and determined that Bowen needed surgery on his left elbow. Bowen had minor complaints of slight weakness in his left hand and pain in his left thumb, and Ray told Bowen that this surgery would restore any loss of strength in his left hand. Bowen's claims in this suit relate to the treatment of his left elbow. No complications arose from Ray's treatment of Bowen's right hand.

On January 11, 2011, Ray performed surgery on Bowen's left elbow at Southwest Surgical Hospital. During the surgery, Bowen's ulnar nerve was severed.

After the surgery, Bowen began experiencing numbness and weakness in his left hand. He complained of the problem to Ray in a January 21, 2011 follow- up appointment but was told to wait six weeks to see if the numbness subsided. On March 4, 2011, Bowen had a follow-up appointment with Ray. Based on that appointment, Ray decided to perform an ulnar decompression surgery of Bowen's left elbow. Ray admitted Bowen to North Hills Hospital that afternoon and performed the procedure. The symptoms did not improve.

On March 15, 2011, Bowen consulted neurologist Dr. Stephen Troum for a second opinion. After performing some tests, Troum advised Bowen that the ulnar nerve was dead and that in his opinion, Ray had cut the nerve during the prior elbow surgery. Bowen consulted a second neurologist who reached the same conclusion that the nerve was dead.

The Lawsuit

In his petition, Bowen alleged various acts of negligence but did not specify which defendants committed what negligent acts. The listed acts of negligence included allegations that the defendants had done or failed to do the following:

e. Discharged Mr. Bowen from their care with a severed and unrepaired ulnar nerve;
. . .
g. Failed to provide appropriate and timely follow-up care to Mr. Bowen to address, treat, and resolve the issues arising from ...

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