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Failure to follow instructions led to hysterectomy, per defense

Type:

Verdict-Defendant

State:

Ohio

Venue:

Allen County

Court:

Allen County, Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

gynecological-hysterectomy; gynecological-fallopian tube, loss of

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice – Emergency Room, Failure to Communicate

Case Name:

Melissa Ricker v. St. Rita’s Medical Center, Todd A. Bell, D.O., Ronda Nartker, P.A. and LIma Emergency Physicians, Inc.,
No. CV 2014 0624

Date:

June 30, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Melissa Ricker (Female, 40 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

James M. Roper;
Isaac Wiles Burkholder & Teetor, LLC;
Columbus,
OH,
for
Melissa Ricker

Defendant(s):

Todd A. Bell, D.O., 

Ronda Nartker, P.A., 

St. Rita’s Medical Center, 

Lima Emergency Physicians, Inc.

Defense Attorney(s):

Timothy D. Krugh;
Robison Curphey & O’Connell;
Toledo,
OH,
for
St. Rita’s Medical Center ■ Susan Blasik-Miller;
Freund Freeze & Arnold;
Dayton,
OH,
for
Todd A. Bell, D.O., Ronda Nartker, P.A., Lima Emergency Physicians, Inc.

Defendant Expert(s):

Charles Emmerman;
Emergency Medicine;
Cleveland,
OH called by:
Timothy D. Krugh, Susan Blasik-Miller

Facts:

On Dec. 9, 2009, plaintiff Melissa Ricker, 40, a sales/clerical employee, presented to the emergency room at St. Rita’s Medical Center. She had symptoms of a miscarriage. Todd A. Bell, D.O., an emergency physician, and Ronda Nartker, P.A., examined Ricker. She was treated and released. About a month later, in January 2010, Ricker suffered a ruptured fallopian tube from an ectopic pregnancy and required a hysterectomy. Ricker filed suit against St. Rita’s Medical Center, Bell, Nartker and Bell’s professional practice, Lima Emergency Physicians, Inc., alleging medical malpractice. Ricker alleged that the defendants negligently failed to provide laboratory scripts or written instructions for follow-up at the time of her emergency room visit. As a result, she claimed she suffered a ruptured fallopian tube, which necessitated a hysterectomy. The defense contended that they scheduled the appropriate laboratory tests for Ricker, including an HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin test to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy), as well as written instructions for follow up at the time of her discharge from the emergency room. The defense asserted that Ricker failed to follow the instructions or seek the necessary laboratory tests and, had she done so, the rupture would not have occurred. Ricker reportedly ultimately admitted that she had received some instructions, but claimed the instructions were not as extensive as the defendants claimed.

Injury:

Ricker suffered a ruptured fallopian tube as a result of an ectopic pregnancy, necessitating a hysterectomy. Ricker sought non-economic damages for the surgery and extended pain and suffering. The defense denied negligence and argued that Ricker’s failure to follow the instructions given to her at discharge led to the need for a hysterectomy. The defense also argued that Ricker had recovered with no complications.

Result:

The jury found for the defendants and a defense verdict was entered.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Jeffrey L. Reed

Trial Length:

3
 days

Trial Deliberations:

2
 hours

Jury Vote:

8-0

Post Trial:

There was no appeal and this case is closed.

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel for the hospital. The other attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.