Jansone v. Hartford Hospital
A plaintiff who files a complaint against a hospital and attaches written opinions from surgeons or anesthesiologists may not be allowed to pursue medical-malpractice claims against hospital nurses or physician's assistants. The plaintiff, Dace Jansone, filed a medical-malpractice complaint against four doctors, Hartford Hospital, and Hartford Anesthesiology Associates. The plaintiff apparently attached to her complaint opinions from similar health care providers in the areas of general surgery, orthopedic surgery and anesthesiology. One of the defendant doctors, Stephen Luk, moved to dismiss and argued that he worked as a "surgical critical care specialist" when he treated the plaintiff's decedent, and that the plaintiff did not file a written opinion from a surgical critical care specialist. Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a requires that a plaintiff obtain a written opinion of a "similar health care provider" that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence and that includes a detailed basis for the opinion. The court found that Dr. Stephen Luk is a board-certified general surgeon and that the plaintiff's complaint alleged that he practiced as a general surgeon. The plaintiff provided the opinion of a board-certified general surgeon that there was negligence, and the court denied the defendant surgeon's motion to dismiss. Defendant Hartford Hospital also moved to dismiss the plaintiff's allegations, to the extent that the plaintiff alleged negligence by any medical providers other than a general surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon or an anesthesiologist. The plaintiff objected that written opinions concerning the surgeons were sufficient to support the plaintiff's allegations against the hospital. A board-certified general surgeon provides different health care than a nurse or a physician's assistant. "[A]ny claims against any other employee or agent of the Hospital," wrote the court, "are not supported by the requisite opinion of a similar healthcare provider." The court granted Hartford Hospital's motion to dismiss, to the extent that the complaint alleges medical negligence against healthcare providers who do not practice general surgery, orthopedic surgery or anesthesiology.