Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2017-353
Honorable Robert W. Kostelka, Judge.
JOHNSON Pro Se
KING & LANDRY, LLP Counsel for Appellee By:Brady D. King,
II April M. Hammett
MOORE, COX, and McCALLUM, JJ.
Johnson filed a request for review by a medical review panel,
alleging medical malpractice and delayed treatment by Dr. Raj
Bhandari. The medical review panel did not find in favor of
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson then filed his medical malpractice
suit against Dr. Bhandari in the Fourth Judicial District
Court, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. The trial court granted
Dr. Bhandari's motion for summary judgment and dismissed
Mr. Johnson's claims with full prejudice. Mr. Johnson has
appealed the trial court's judgment. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
April 14, 2008, Mr. Johnson visited the office of Dr.
Bhandari. Mr. Johnson was referred by Dr. Allen Spires, his
primary physician, because of an elevated liver test and
positive test for Hepatitis C. He did not have health
insurance at the time of the visit. The consultation report
notes that Mr. Johnson admitted to a history of IV drug use
35 years ago in Vietnam, leading to his discharge from the
military. He had no other Hepatitis risk factors. The
consultation report also states Mr. Johnson drinks one to two
beers every other day.
Bhandari's impressions from this 2008 visit were that Mr.
Johnson had chronic Hepatitis C, elevated total protein, and
he suspected Mr. Johnson would likely have cirrhosis. It was
recommended that Mr. Johnson receive further tests for
Hepatitis C, HIV, and Hepatitis B. Mr. Johnson was also
advised to stop drinking all alcohol.
Johnson's medical history included in the record is
silent from 2008 until an emergency room visit on September
18, 2013, for abdominal pain. Mr. Johnson visited Dr. Spires
on December 12 and 18, 2014, for abdominal pain. He was given
a prescription for doxycycline hyclate and told to call if
his symptoms worsened or persisted and return to the clinic
Johnson visited Dr. Bhandari again on May 27, 2015, after
another referral from Dr. Spires. Mr. Johnson was seeking Dr.
Bhandari's opinion regarding his Hepatitis C and had no
symptoms other than fatigue. His consultation report stated
he was not drinking alcohol or using tobacco. Dr.
Bhandari's listed impressions from this visit were
Hepatitis C and a colon cancer screening. Dr. Bhandari
recommended that Mr. Johnson have a colonoscopy, ultrasound,
and lab work. Mr. Johnson agreed with the plan and the
colonoscopy was scheduled for June 8, 2015.
28, 2015, Mr. Johnson had an ultrasound of his abdomen. After
reviewing the ultrasound, the radiologist recommended a CT
scan. On June 3, 2015, Mr. Johnson received the follow-up CT
scan of his abdomen. Also on June 3, 2015, Mr. Johnson was
notified by a nurse with Dr. Bhandari's office that his
drug screen taken on May 27, 2015, came back positive for
marijuana. She told him that it could take his insurance
company up to three months to approve or deny the request for
his medication and that they do look at drug screens to help
make their determination. She noted that he verbalized his
understanding of what she said.
8, 2015, Mr. Johnson received another ultrasound of his
abdomen after complaints of abdomen pain. The radiologist
concluded Mr. Johnson presented a "normal study."
Mr. Johnson was notified of the ultrasound results on June
12, 2015, and verbalized his understanding.
Johnson returned to Dr. Bhandari on June 17, 2015. Dr.
Bhandari's notes stated Mr. Johnson did not have his
colonoscopy. His impression at this visit was that Mr.
Johnson had Hepatitis C with cirrhosis of the liver. Dr.
Bhandari recommended the following:
1. I have recommended he consider an upper endoscopy but he
does not wish to have an upper endoscopy at this time to
evaluate for esophageal varices due to the high risk of
2. He should consider colon cancer screening. He had it about
ten years ago in Wisconsin. He will let us know [if] he
wishes to have this done. He has been explained the risks of
colon cancer screening and surveillance and colon cancer
3. He needs an ultrasound every six months and alpha
fetoprotein. He has been explained he will need this every
six months ...