Articles Posted in Health Law

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Ayden A., a sixteen-year-old minor, was admitted to West Hills Hospital because he was deemed to be emotional disturbed and a danger to himself. One week later, the State filed a petition for involuntary placement in a locked facility after emergency admission, arguing that its petition was timely because five days as prescribed in Nev. Rev. Stat. 432B.6075(2) means judicial days. The district court ruled in favor of Ayden, concluding that “five days” in the statute means calendar days. The State subsequently filed this original petition for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court granted the State’s petition and directed the district court to vacate its order denying the State’s petition to extend the placement, holding (1) although Ayden was released from involuntary placement and this matter is moot, this particular issue is presents an issue that is capable of repetition yet evading review and thus fits within an exception to the mootness doctrine; and (2) the five days in section 432B.6075 must be judicial days based on Nev. R. Civ. P. 6(a)’s instructions on computing time. View "State v. Second Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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A psychiatrist filed a petition for court-ordered continued involuntary admission of Petitioner to a mental health facility on the grounds that there was an imminent risk that Petitioner would harm himself or others if he were not involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility. The district court granted the petition. Twelve days after the district court’s involuntary admission order was entered, Petitioner was unconditionally released from the mental health facility. Petitioner then filed this petition for a writ of mandamus asking that the Supreme Court direct the district court to recall from the Central Repository for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System the previously transmitted record of Petitioner’s involuntary admission. In support of his petition, Petitioner argued, inter alia, that Nev. Rev. Stat. 433A.310(5) did not authorize transmission of the involuntary admission order until that order became final under Nev. Rev. Stat. 433A.310(1). The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s request for extraordinary writ relief, holding (1) section 433A.310(5)’s plain language requires a district court to transmit an admission order to the Central Repository at the time it is entered; and (2) clear and convincing evidence justified Petitioner’s involuntary admission. View "Vu v. Second Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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Aden Hailu suffered severe lack of brain oxygen damage while she was admitted to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. Hailu was placed on ventilation support. After Hailu failed an apnea test, St. Mary’s concluded that Hailu was brain dead and notified Hailu’s father and guardian, Fanuel Gebreyes, that it intended to discontinue Hailu’s ventilator and other life support. Gebreyes filed an emergency petition for temporary restraining order seeking to prevent St. Mary’s from removing Hailu from life-sustaining services. The district court ruled in favor of St. Mary’s. At issue on appeal was whether the American Association of Neurology guidelines (AAN Guidelines) are considered “accepted medical standards” that satisfy the definition of brain death in Nev. Rev. Stat. 451.007. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s order denying a petition or temporary restraining order, holding that the district court failed properly to consider whether the AAN Guidelines adequately measure all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, under Nev. Rev. Stat. 451.007 and whether the AAN Guidelines are considered accepted medical standards by the medical community. Remanded. View "In re Guardianship of Hailu" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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After the death of Charles Cornell, Sherry Cornell filed a complaint against numerous defendants, including petitioner Stephen Tam, M.D., alleging medical malpractice. Dr. Tam filed an omnibus motion in limine requesting in part that Plaintiff’s noneconomic damages be capped pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 41A.035, which limits the recovery of a plaintiff’s noneconomic damages in a healthcare provider’s professional negligence action to $350,000. The district court denied the motion, concluding (1) section 41A.035 is unconstitutional, as it violates a plaintiff’s constitutional right to trial by jury; (2) the statutory cap does not apply to the case as a whole, but a separate cap applies to each plaintiff for each of the defendants; and (3) the statutory cap does not apply to medical malpractice claims. Dr. Tam subsequently petitioned for a writ of mandamus compelling the district court to vacate its order denying his motion in limine. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding that the district court erred in (1) finding the statute unconstitutional; (2) finding the statutory cap applies per plaintiff and per defendant; and (3) finding the statute only applies to professional negligence and not to medical malpractice. View "Tam v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Patients of certain healthcare facilities were advised to testify for blood-borne diseases after it was discovered that those healthcare facilities used unsafe injection practices during certain procedures. Plaintiffs, patients of those facilities who had undergone such procedures, filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and a proposed class of similarly situated individuals against PacifiCare of Nevada, Inc., a health maintenance organization, asserting negligence on the ground that PacifiCare failed to establish and implement a quality assurance program to oversee the medical providers within its network. The district court granted PacifiCare’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Plaintiffs’ complaint failed to state a negligence claim because they had not alleged an “actual injury,” such as testing positive for a blood-borne illness. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs’ complaint adequately alleged an injury in the form of exposure to unsafe injection practices that caused a need for ongoing medical monitoring to detect latent diseases that may result from those unsafe practices. View "Sadler v. PacifiCare of Nev., Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law

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Real party in interest Michael Wiley brought a putative class action against Renown Regional Medical Center regarding its lien practices. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. After a hearing, the district court denied Renown’s motion and granted Wiley’s motion. Notably, the court found in favor of Wiley on two of his claims for relief even though the full merits of those claims were not specifically argued in the cross-motions for summary judgment or at the hearing. Renown then filed this original petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the district court’s order. The Supreme Court (1) granted the petition in part, holding that the district court erred by granting summary judgment on the two causes of action that were not argued in summary judgment briefing or in oral argument; and (2) denied the remainder of the petition. View "Renown Reg'l Med. Ctr. v. Second Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Appellant received treatment at Hospital for injuries she sustained in an automobile accident. Appellant granted two statutory liens to Hospital on settlement proceeds she obtained from the tortfeasor for hospital services rendered. Appellant subsequently settled her case against the tortfeasor, and the tortfeasor's insurer (Insurer) agreed to pay Appellant $1.3 million in exchange for Appellant's agreement to indemnify Insurer from all healthcare provider liens. Hospital subsequently sued Insurer, and Appellant tendered to Hospital all money it asserted was due. Appellant then filed a complaint against Hospital, alleging that Hospital overcharged her pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 439B.260(1), which provides that hospitals must reduce charges by thirty percent to inpatients who lack insurance "or other contractual provision for the payment of the charge by a third party." The district court entered judgment in favor of Hospital, finding that Appellant's settlement agreement with the tortfeasor rendered Appellant ineligible for the thirty percent statutory discount. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that a patient's eligibility is determined at the commencement of hospital services, and therefore, a later settlement agreement with a third party for the payment of such services does not disqualify the patient for the statutory discount. View " Bielar v. Washoe Health Sys., Inc." on Justia Law

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The issue before the Supreme Court centered on the duty of care owed by a medical facility when performing nonmedical functions. The Court took the opportunity of this case to recognize that when a medical facility performs a nonmedical function, general negligence standards apply, such that the medical facility has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm as a result of its actions. Here, the complaint alleged that appellant, a cognitively impaired patient who required a guardian to make medical and financial decisions for her, was exploited by a third party after a social worker employed by the respondent medical facility provided the third party with a preprinted general power-of-attorney form, which the patient subsequently executed in furtherance of her discharge from the facility. The manner in which the medical facility allegedly discharged the patient could lead a reasonable jury to find that the patient's financial injuries were a foreseeable result of the facility's conduct. Thus, the Supreme Court found that district court erred when it found that the medical facility owed the patient no duty beyond the duty to provide competent medical care and dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the order dismissing this action and remanded this case to the district court for further proceedings. View "DeBoer v. Sr. Bridges of Sparks Fam. Hosp." on Justia Law

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On December 14, 2006, Robert Winn's daughter, Sedona, suffered an extensive brain injury during a heart surgery. On February 3, 2009, Winn filed a medical malpractice suit against the hospital, doctors, and perfusionists who were involved in the surgery. The district court dismissed the action as untimely, concluding that more than one year had elapsed between the time when Winn discovered Sedona's injury and the time when he filed suit. At issue on appeal was Nev. Rev. Stat. 41A.097(2), which provides that medical malpractice actions must be filed within three years of the injury date and within one year of the injury's discovery, and section 41A.097(3), which tolls both deadlines when the health care provider has concealed information upon which the action is based. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the district court, holding (1) questions of fact remained as to whether subsection 2's one-year discovery period was tolled for concealment against the hospital; and (2) subsection 3's tolling-for-concealment provision did not apply against the doctors and perfusionists. View "Winn v. Sunrise Hosp. & Med. Ctr." on Justia Law

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Real parties in interest Laura and Edward Rehfeldt filed a complaint for medical malpractice against Defendants, a hospital and health care practitioners. Accompanying the Rehfeldts' complaint was an opinion letter from a medical expert supporting their claim and a notary acknowledgment form attached to the letter. Neither the opinion letter nor the acknowledgment contained a declaration that the statements contained in the opinion letter were made under penalty of perjury, and the opinion letter did not contain a jurat. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Rehfeldts failed to comply with the affidavit requirement of Nev. Rev. Stat. 41A.071. Defendants then filed the instant petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition. The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus for the purpose of instructing the district court to conduct an evidentiary hearing for the limited purpose of determining whether the Rehfeldts could sufficiently prove that the medical expert appeared before the notary public and swore under oath that the statements contained in his opinion letter were true and correct in accordance with section 41A.071's affidavit requirement. View "MountainView Hosp. v. Nev. Dist. Court " on Justia Law