A three-judge Ohio appeals court panel issued an opinion in a wrongful death case on Sept. 21 that a lower court had previously thrown out. The judges’ opinion this week will now allow the decedent’s estate, represented by Thomas Law Offices Cincinnati personal injury attorney Louis C. Schneider, to once again pursue damages against defendants Bethesda Hospital Inc. and TriHealth Inc., health care systems that serve residents from northeast Cincinnati on into Warren, Clinton, and Butler counties.
The Ohio wrongful death action up for debate in this scenario centers around what happened to decedent Michael Napier. He was admitted to Bethesda North Hospital in Montgomery, Ohio in November 2016, where he was slated to undergo heart surgery. He was unknowingly exposed to harmful bacteria that had accumulated on what appears to have been a non-essential heater-cooler unit located within the surgical suite, which resulted in Napier developing a life-threatening infection that ultimately claimed his life.
Napier’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the above-referenced defendants in July 2021. The latter party quickly filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the allegations levied were medical malpractice ones subject to Ohio’s four-year statute of limitations for such cases. The defense additionally claimed in that same motion that the plaintiff, Napier’s estate, hadn’t filed an affidavit of merit as required per Ohio law when filing medical malpractice claims.
Thomas Law Offices attorney Schneider appealed the lower Ohio trial judge’s ruling, which resulted in the dismissed case coming in front of the appellate judge panel. The judges ultimately agreed that the plaintiff’s claim didn’t rise to the level of a medical claim per Ohio law since the use of the heater-cooler unit wasn’t directly connected to the decedent’s diagnosis, care, or treatment.
The appeals court ruling paves the way for this case to go on and be heard by a jury who can decide whether to hold responsible parties liable for the decedent’s untimely, preventable death.
This case is just one of many different examples of the lengths our personal injury attorneys at Thomas Law Offices will go to advocate on behalf of our Cincinnati area clients. We don’t back down until we’ve helped our clients seek justice for the harm someone else caused them, whether it’s in a wrongful death like this, a medical malpractice case, or another instance involving negligence.