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SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR DEFENDANT Hospital Negligence – Claimed negligent performance of surgery to remove abdominal tumor – Laceration of vena cava – Wrongful death.

Hillsborough County, FL

The plaintiff claimed that the decedent, a 69-year-old female, sustained a negligently-caused laceration of the vena cava, causing her death during surgery to remove an abdominal tumor at the defendant hospital. The defendant hospital argued that the plaintiff could not maintain a case against the hospital, and moved for summary judgment. The physicians involved in the plaintiff’s treatment settled for an undisclosed sum.

The plaintiff’s complaint alleged medical negligence on the part of the defendant hospital under theories of agency, apparent agency, and non-delegable duty. The plaintiff argued that the surgeons were agents of the defendant hospital, and that the defendant hosptial failed to properly notify the patient of its delegation of duties and responsibilities of the surgical services to the surgeons. The plaintiff also claimed the defendant hospital had both a contractual and federal obligation to provide non-negligent surgical medical services to the decedent.

The defendant hospital relied on Florida Statute Section ________.________ for the plaintiff’s agency claims. That Statute states in pertinent part: “An employee or agent under the right of control of a university board of trustees who, pursuant to the university board’s policies or rules, renders medical care or treatment at any hospital or health care facility.… shall not be deemed to be an agent of any person other than the university board in any civil action resulting from any act or omission of the employee or agent while rendering said medical care or treatment.”

Regarding the plaintiff’s non-delegable duty claims the defendant cited Tarpon Springs Hospital Foundation v. Reth. In that case, the Appellate court reversed the denial of a hospital’s motion for directed verdict, and stated that the “applicable statutes and rules do not impose a nondelegable duty to provide anesthesia services to surgical patients.”The court granted the summary judgment motion as to all counts against the defendant hospital following a two-hour hearing. The plaintiff has appealed the ruling.

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