Coleman v. Deno
Supreme Court of Louisiana
January 25, 2002, Decided
No. 01-C-1517 c/w 01-C-1519 c/w 01-C-1521
[*307] [Pg 1]
LOBRANO, Justice Pro Tempore
We granted certiorari in this case primarily to determine whether the court of appeal erred in recognizing an intentional tort cause of action against an emergency room physician for improper transfer of a patient under general tort law, which is outside the scope of the limitations set forth in the Medical Malpractice Act, La. R.S. 40:1299.41, et seq. (MMA). After review of the evidence, we conclude that the plaintiff-patient's cause [**2] of action against the defendant-doctor is based solely on medical malpractice and thus the court of appeal's finding of an intentional tort of "patient dumping" is in error. With respect to the medical malpractice liability, we find no manifest error in the jury's finding of malpractice on the part of the defendant-doctor; however, we reallocate fault between the defendant-doctor and the non-party charity hospital. With respect to damages, we remand to the court of [Pg 2] appeal for both a meaningful quantum review and a recasting of the ultimate judgment in accordance with the limitations of the MMA.
On June 11, 1988, Louis Coleman, then thirty-two years old, underwent surgery at Charity Hospital in New Orleans (CHNO). During that surgery, his left arm was amputated to save his life. Coleman initially sought emergency treatment at JoEllen Smith Hospital (JESH), where he presented twice within a forty-hour interval on June 7 and 8, 1988. On the second visit to JESH, the emergency room physician transferred Coleman to CHNO.
Coleman first visited JESH at 1:44 a.m. on June 7, 1988. On that occasion, Coleman never complained of any problems with his arm. Rather, Coleman [**3] told the triage nurse that he had pulled something in his chest while lifting and that all movement hurts including deep breathing. With the exception of an elevated temperature (100.3 degrees F), his vital signs were normal. Dr. Ivan Sherman, the emergency room physician who examined Coleman, found his chest was clear, but his chest wall was tender. Dr. Sherman ordered an EKG and a chest x-ray. Based on the negative results of those tests and the physical examination, Dr. Sherman diagnosed chest pain and costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the area between the ribs and sternumRead The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.
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813 So. 2d 303 *; 2002 La. LEXIS 142 **; 01-1517 (La. 01/25/02);
LOUIS COLEMAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS FATHER OF LOUIS FRANK COLEMAN Versus DR. RICHARD DENO, DR. IVAN SHERMAN AND JOELLEN SMITH HOSPITAL
Prior History: [**1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH CIRCUIT, PARISH OF ORLEANS.
Coleman v. Deno, 787 So. 2d 446, 2001 La. App. LEXIS 1203 (La. App. 4th Cir. 2001)
Disposition: Affirmed in part, modified in part, remanded.
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