KAY HANAGRIFF, INDIVIDUALLY, ETC., ET AL.
PREFERRED PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL.
FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 2012-2388 HONORABLE DAVID A. RITCHIE, DISTRICT
E. Broussard, Jr., Broussard, Halcomb & Vizzier COUNSEL
FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Kay Hanagriff Kay Hanagriff, o/b/o
Abigail Frick Alexa Yanez
Elizabeth Fontenot Shea, J. Gregory Bergstedt Fraser,
Wheeler, Bergstedt & Courtney, LLP COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Preferred Professional Insurance
Company Shondra L. Smith, M.D.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D.
Saunders, and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.
D. SAUNDERS, JUDGE.
a case involving a medical malpractice action. Plaintiff
instituted an action against her physician and the
physician's professional liability insurance carrier
(collectively "Defendants"), alleging that
Defendants breached the applicable standard of care in the
care and treatment of Plaintiff on September 22, 2008.
March 2, 2015, this case came before a jury. After a four-day
trial, on March 5, 2015, the jury rendered a verdict adverse
March 26, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Judgment
Notwithstanding the Verdict, Or in the Alternative, Motion
for New Trial. The motion was heard on June 2, 2017. Judgment
was rendered denying the motion on June 21, 2017.
now appeals that judgment. Her argument is that Defendants
failed to furnish Plaintiff with diligent and skillful care;
failed to adequately monitor Plaintiff given her expressed
symptoms to ensure that she did not fall from the examination
table while under Defendants' care; failed to exercise
the requisite amount of care and supervision that
Plaintiff's condition required; failed to take reasonable
steps to promote continuity of appropriate medical care of
Plaintiff; and failed to exercise the reasonable degree of
skill and competency ordinarily employed by members of the
medical profession practicing in the same specialty as
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
September 22, 2008, Plaintiff, Kay Hanagriff ("Ms.
Hanagriff"), underwent two punch biopsies at the office
of Shondra L. Smith, M.D. ("Dr. Smith"), a
dermatologist. During the procedure, Ms. Hanagriff advised
Dr. Smith that she felt queasy, and Dr. Smith instructed
Nurse Mindy Walling ("Nurse Walling"), who was
assisting her, to place an ice pack on Ms. Hanagriff's
neck, which she did. Ms. Hanagriff stated that the ice pack
was helping and that she was starting to feel better.
the procedure, which was completed in approximately five to
ten minutes, Nurse Walling remained in the exam room placing
bandages on Ms. Hanagriff as she continued to talk to her to
ensure that she was feeling better; Ms. Hanagriff confirmed
that she was. Prior to momentarily leaving the exam room,
Nurse Walling instructed Ms. Hanagriff to remain lying on the
exam table until a staff member came back to check on her.
thereafter, Dr. Smith instructed Diana Perry Beaugh, LPN
("Nurse Beaugh") to check on Ms. Hanagriff, which
she did. Nurse Beaugh noted that Ms. Hanagriff was
"awake, alert and oriented", and in response to
Nurse Beaugh's inquiry as to how she was feeling, Ms.
Hanagriff stated "I feel much better." At that
time, Nurse Beaugh informed Ms. Hanagriff that she would have
her sit up with her feet extended for a short period and
adjusted the exam table accordingly to allow Ms. Hanagriff to
do so. Prior to leaving the exam room, Nurse Beaugh warned
Ms. Hanagriff not to get off the exam table or try to stand
until a staff member came in to assist her.
Walling, who was with another patient in the exam room next
to the one Ms. Hanagriff occupied, heard a noise that she
described as "metal-on-metal" which she determined
to be the sound of the leg extensions on the exam table being
pushed in. When Nurse Walling entered Ms. Hanagriff's
exam room, she was off the exam table and appeared to be
falling to the floor, so she took Ms. Hanagriff by the arm
and gently assisted her to the floor, where she remained
until Dr. Smith entered the room to evaluate her. When Dr.
Smith informed Ms. Hanagriff that she was going to write a
prescription for a CT scan of the head and cervical spine,
Ms. Hanagriff refused, stating "I just want to go
home." Ms. Hanagriff also repeatedly stated that she was
embarrassed about the situation.
fifteen to twenty minutes later, Dr. Smith's office
manager and licensed pharmacist, Cindy Reed ("Ms.
Reed"), entered the exam room to take Ms.
Hanagriff's blood pressure, which was normal. At that
time, Ms. Hanagriff complained that her head hurt when she
moved her neck.
ten minutes later, Dr. Smith instructed her billing manager,
Kissney Traub ("Ms. Traub"), to take Ms. Hanagriff
to Women's & Children's Hospital emergency room
for further evaluation. Upon their arrival, Dr. Akanbi, the
ER physician, examined Ms. Hanagriff and performed a CT scan
of the head and cervical spine. Those tests revealed no
significant abnormalities, except muscle spasms. Later that
day, Dr. Akanbi informed Dr. Smith that he had prescribed Ms.
Hanagriff a muscle relaxer and a soft neck brace, and that
she would be fine.
following day Dr. Smith called Ms. Hanagriff to check on her
status, and spoke with her mother, who told her that she was
sleeping. Later that day, Dr. Smith placed another call to
Ms. Hanagriff's cell phone and left a message.
September 26, 2008, Dr. Smith spoke with Ms. Hanagriff
regarding her biopsy results. Ms. Hanagriff reported that her
neck was sore, that she was having trouble sleeping, and that
she had been seen by her primary care physician, who told her
that she had a muscle strain. When Dr. Smith asked Ms.
Hanagriff whether she had any bruising, she replied that she
September 29, 2008, Dr. Smith saw Ms. Hanagriff for the last
time. At that time, Ms. Hanagriff stated that she was still
slightly stiff in the neck but had returned to work.
about September 22, 2009, Ms. Hanagriff filed a complaint
with the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund
("PCF"), requesting a review of the medical care
provided to her by ...