Judge denies hospital's appeal against diabetic patient who suffered loss of toe

By Rich Peters | Apr 11, 2019

HOUSTON – A federal judge in the Texas First Court of Appeals has denied a hospital's appeal in the case of a diabetic woman who blames a medical facility, its doctors and staff for the loss of her toe.

According to court documents, in March 2015 Vickie Milner was admitted to Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center for a left-foot infection. The plaintiff/appellee, who says that the hospital was aware of her diabetic conditions, alleges the neglect of Dr. Anand Balasubramanian, Dr. Doan K. Nguyen and the nursing staff led to a “gangrenous condition, resulting in amputation of her great toe followed by a protracted recovery.”

Milner dealt with lingering issues through April 2016 and later filed suit within the 120-day deadline. The appellee also sought an outside opinion from Dr. Marc E. Mitchell, who provided an in-depth report of the claims.

The appellants moved to dismiss Milner’s health care liability claims, alleging that her expert’s report was inadequate. “Dr. Balasubramanian, Dr. Nguyen, and the Medical Center contend that the trial court abused its discretion in denying their motions to dismiss,” the appeal stated. The appellants highlighted three key factors in seeking the case’s dismissal, all surrounding Mitchell’s alleged faulty report.

“Dr. Mitchell’s causation opinions as to the Medical Center are similar to his causation opinions as to Dr. Balasubramanian, which we have found sufficient,” the court wrote in response to the appellants. “For the same reasons, we conclude that Dr. Mitchell sufficiently describes the causation element as to the Medical Center.”

Justice Richard Hightower and his court affirmed the orders of the trial court, concluding by documenting the legitimacy of Mitchell’s report.

“Dr. Mitchell explains the factual basis for his opinions and he links the Medical Center nursing staff’s alleged conduct—failing to provide timely and appropriate wound care and wound assessment and failing to alert physicians of the declining condition of the wound—with Milner’s subsequent development of gangrene and the amputation,” the court wrote.

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Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center First Court of Appeals, Texas

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