State Supreme Court considers case that could increase nurses’ legal liability | Beaufort County Now | The N.C. Supreme Court will decide in the months ahead whether a nurse can face greater legal liability for a patient’s injuries. The decision could reinforce or throw out a nearly 90-year-old court precedent.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is CJ Staff.



    The N.C. Supreme Court will decide in the months ahead whether a nurse can face greater legal liability for a patient's injuries. The decision could reinforce or throw out a nearly 90-year-old court precedent.

    "Don't you want the law to be such that if people are going to be held accountable, that the proper measure of accountability is done by people who actually do it?" asked John Edwards during oral arguments Monday. Edwards, a former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate, represents the plaintiff before the high court.

    For Edwards, proper accountability requires adjusting the old precedent. "We're going to allow experts, who do this all the time, at the appropriate time, with the same training and experience, that evidence will be presented," he said of his goal for the case's outcome. "There will be factual disputes, of course, and the jury will determine what the standard is based on the evidence that's presented."

    The case Connette v. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hosp. Auth. focuses on the work of a nurse anesthetist in 2010. While undergoing heart treatment, 3-year-old Amaya Hopper suffered permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy, and "profound developmental delay." Experts blamed the process medical professionals used to administer anesthesia.

    Amaya's family sued. After a jury failed to reach a verdict in a 2015 trial, the family settled its claims against the anesthesiologist. But legal action continued against both the hospital and Gus VanSoestbergen, a certified registered nurse anesthetist. The family lost at the trial court level in 2018, then appealed the verdict.

    A unanimous Court of Appeals ruled against the family last year, citing a 1932 court precedent. The state's highest court had ruled at that time in Byrd v. Marion Gen. Hosp. that a nurse could not be held liable for medical malpractice based on diagnosis and treatment of patients.

    In this case, it's impossible to separate the work of the "two-man team" who developed and executed the anesthesia plan, Edwards argued. VanSoestbergen was just as responsible as the anesthesiologist in the case, he said.

    "In this case, the two of them developed a plan that was not safe, that did not meet the standard of care, and they both agreed to it," Edwards argued.

    The defendants' lawyer urged the Supreme Court not to allow the case to head to a third trial. "They're asking this court to change 90 years of North Carolina tort law on the duties of medical professionals and, specifically, to hold nurses liable for decisions made by physicians," said attorney Matthew Sawchak.

    It's not clear when the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in the case. Only five justices will decide the issue. Justices Phil Berger Jr. and Sam "Jimmy" Ervin IV recused themselves.
Go Back

HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

On September 29, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) announced that it is investigating what it calls “egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism in the University of North Carolina System.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against the Biden administration Justice Department, asserting that Texas’ heartbeat abortion law can remain in place.
U.S. semiconductor chip company Intel has scrubbed all references to Xinjiang from an open letter on its website that created a backlash from China late last year.
Today the Tax Foundation released its annual State Business Tax Climate Index that highlights which states best structure their tax systems and provides a roadmap for improvement for others.
The Carolina Journal makes a wide sweeping evaluation of the news that most effects us here in North Carolina, and is distilled, here on BCN, for your clear understanding by the electronic means of video broadcast.

HbAD1

How do North Carolina’s colleges rank amongst the nation’s top colleges? Do going to these schools make a big difference in earnings after graduation?
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) has withdrawn from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) because of the NSBA’s letter suggesting the recent behavior of individuals in school board meetings could eventually rise to the level of “domestic terrorism or hate crimes.”
An Afghan refugee at Marine Corps Base Quantico committed an “unlawful act with a child,” according to an Inspector General (IG) report.
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Kody Kinsley visited and toured a COVID-19 vaccine and testing site hosted by Kinston Teens, a youth-led nonprofit organization, and the City of Kinston.
California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom, who believes in vaccine mandates so much that he issued the first vaccine mandate in the United States targeting children in public and private schools, has a different view of the state’s prison guards, whose union donated a whopping $1.75 million.
Quinnipiac University released a new poll that is once again terrible for Joe Biden and the Democrats.
The Carolina Journal makes a wide sweeping evaluation of the news that most effects us here in North Carolina, and is distilled, here on BCN, for your clear understanding by the electronic means of video broadcast.
The very reason for government is, as the Founders made clear in the Declaration of Independence, to defend and protect (“secure”) everyone’s God-given rights.
14 cent per gallon price cut at Murphy Express

HbAD2

 
Back to Top