Those of you who live by Betteridge’s Law of Headlines will pounce on the “NO” answer but think again.
Susan Warren went to Essentia Hibbing Clinic in August, 2014 complaining of abdominal pain, fever, chills, and other symptoms. She saw a nurse practitioner who thought Ms. Warren should be admitted to the hospital but the nurse practitioner did not have the authority to admit Ms. Warren to the hospital. The nurse practioner contacted a “hospitalist,” a physician who had authority to admit Ms. Warren to the hospital. He exercised his judgment based on the information he had and said that she would not be admitted to the hospital.
The next day, Ms. Warren died due to sepsis brought on by a staph infection.
Without more information (and expert review), we cannot judge the “hospitalist’s” decision but want to reconsider your “No” answer to the question posed in the headline?
The question may be more difficult and complicated than it looks at first. The district court threw out the claim brought by Ms. Warren’s son, finding that the MD owed Ms. Warren no duty. The Court of Appeals, over a dissent of Judge Hooten, affirmed the district court.
The Plaintiff, Warren, sought Minnesota Supreme Court review and, recently, the Minnesota Supreme Court granted the plaintiff’s petition.