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East Valley Fiduciary Services, Inc. v. Iasis Healthcare Holdings, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

December 10, 2013

EAST VALLEY FIDUCIARY SERVICES, INC., by James Clark, Fiduciary #20060, President, as Temporary Conservator for KAREN S. SAUVAGEAU, an incapacitated person, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
IASIS HEALTHCARE HOLDINGS, INC.; MOUNTAIN VISTA MEDICAL CENTER; QUANTUM MEDICAL RADIOLOGY, P.C.; U.S. TELERADIOLOGY, L.L.C., Defendants/Appellees.

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2008-004469 The Honorable Arthur T. Anderson, Judge

Grysen & Associates, Spring Lake, MI By B. Elliot Grysen Knapp & Roberts, P.C., Scottsdale, David L. Abney Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant

The Checkett Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Scottsdale, John J. Checkett, Michele A. Molyneaux Counsel for Defendants/Appellees IASIS Healthcare Holdings, Inc. and Mountain Vista Medical Center

Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA, John A. Klecan, Kevin R. Myer Counsel for Defendants/Appellees Quantum Medical Radiology, P.C., and U.S. Teleradiology, L.L.C.

Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Jon W. Thompson and Judge Diane M. Johnsen joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

WINTHROP, Presiding Judge

¶1 Plaintiff/Appellant East Valley Fiduciary Services, Inc., by James Clark, Fiduciary #20060, President, as Temporary Conservator for Karen S. Sauvageau ("Sauvageau") appeals a jury verdict in favor of defendants/appellees IASIS Healthcare Holdings, Inc., Mountain Vista Medical Center (collectively, "Hospital"), Quantum Medical Radiology, P.C., and U.S. Teleradiology, L.L.C. (collectively, "Radiologists"). For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 On the morning of August 12, 2007, Sauvageau arrived at Mountain Vista Medical Center complaining of back pain, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain. Dr. Jeffrey Proudfoot, the attending physician in the emergency department, ordered a magnetic resonance imaging ("MRI") scan of Sauvageau's lumbar and thoracic spine to rule out an epidural abscess. Dr. Ashford McAllister, a radiologist, issued a preliminary report finding no evidence of a gross epidural abscess, and Dr. Proudfoot discharged Sauvageau that evening. The following day, radiologist Dr. Frank Sabatelli performed an "over-read" of Sauvageau's MRI scan and prepared a final report noting the presence of a spinal epidural abscess. Although there is conflicting evidence in the record regarding whether Dr. Sabatelli communicated his findings to Dr. Proudfoot, it is undisputed that nobody contacted Sauvageau to advise her of the new finding.

¶3 Sauvageau's condition deteriorated after she was discharged, and she was taken by ambulance to Chandler Regional Medical Center on August 14, 2007. Her physicians determined she had an epidural abscess at her lumbar spine and transferred her to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center where she underwent an emergency laminectomy to remove the abscess on August 16, 2007. The following week, she underwent a second surgery to remove an epidural abscess located at her cervical spine. Sauvageau remained in the hospital for several weeks to recover from surgical complications and to receive intravenous antibiotics to treat her infection.

¶4 Sauvageau filed this action for medical malpractice, alleging she suffered permanent physical impairments and brain damage from the delay in diagnosis of the abscess that resulted from defendants' medical negligence. [1] After a sixteen-day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict. Sauvageau timely appealed.

¶5 We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 12-2101 (West ...


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