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Southwick v. University Hospital, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District

March 24, 2006

JOJEAN SOUTHWICK and LARRY SOUTHWICK, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, INC., THE HEALTH ALLIANCE OF GREATER CINCINNATI, UNIVERSITY SURGICAL GROUP OF CFNCINNATI, INC., PER-OLOF HASSELGREN, M.D., BLUE ASH FAMILY PRACTICE, and RTVKA A. SANDERS, M.D., Defendants-Appell ees.

Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, TRIAL NO. A-0305281

Walter J.Wolske and Wolske & Barclay, for Plaintiffs-Appellants,

Monica H. McPeek and Frost Brown Todd LLC, for Defendants-Appellees University Hospital, Inc. and The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati,

Judd R. Uhl and Freund, Freeze & Arnold, for Defendants-Appellees University Surgical Group of Cincinnati, Inc. and Per-Olof Hasselgren, M.D.,

Paul W. McCartney, Laura I. Hillerich, and Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis, LLP, for Defendants-Appellees Rivka A. Sanders, M.D., and Blue Ash Family Practice.

DECISION

Hildebrandt, Presiding Judge.

{¶1} Plaintiffs-appellants, JoJean Southwick and Larry Southwick, appeal the judgment of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas granting a directed verdict in favor of defendants-appellees, University Hospital, Inc., The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, University Surgical Group of Cincinnati, Inc., Per-Olof Hasselgren, M.D., Blue Ash Family Practice, and Rivka A. Sanders, M.D. (collectively, "appellees"), in a medical-malpractice action.

Diagnosis and Treatment

{¶2} In late 1998, JoJean Southwick visited Dr. Sanders, her primary care physician, at Blue Ash Family Practice. She complained of a lump near her left breast, and Dr. Sanders ordered a mammogram. The mammogram revealed a small mass, and it was recommended that she undergo a biopsy.

{¶3} The biopsy was performed at University Hospital, which was affiliated with the Health Alliance of Cincinnati. Based upon the results of the biopsy, surgical excision of the mass was recommended.

{¶4} In December 1998, Dr. Hasselgren, an employee of Universal Surgical Group of Cincinnati, performed the surgical excision. A post-operative analysis of the mass revealed that there was a carcinoma in the left lymph node. According to the Southwicks, the doctors did not notify them of the presence of the cancer.

{¶5} In May 2000, JoJean Southwick again developed pain in her left arm, and tests revealed the presence of the carcinoma. Doctors performed a modified radical mastectomy and administered radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

{¶6} In July 2003, the Southwicks filed a medical-malpractice action, contending that the appellees had negligently failed to inform JoJean Southwick of the carcinoma. They sought damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of consortium.

{¶7} The case proceeded to trial in February 2005. In the Southwicks' opening statement, counsel did not indicate that the eighteen-month delay in treatment had affected the procedures that had been necessary to treat the cancer, and counsel conceded ...


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