Multari v. Yale New Haven Hospital, Inc.
The fact that the defendant is a medical provider, does not, by itself preclude a finding that the plaintiff's action sounds in ordinary negligence. Karen Multari brought suit against Yale New Haven Hospital, alleging injuries from tripping and falling while carrying her sedated granddaughter and belongings, unaided, from the hospital. The trial court dismissed her action, for failing to attach to her complaint a certificate of good faith or an opinion letter from a similar health care provider as required by C.G.S. §52-190a for medical malpractice actions. The plaintiff appealed, claiming that the court erred in concluding that the plaintiff's complaint sounded in medical malpractice, rather than ordinary negligence. The Appellate Court agreed and reversed the judgment. None of the three prongs in the test established in the 2001 Connecticut Appellate Court case of Trimel v. Lawrence & Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center, to determine if a claim sounds in medical malpractice, were met. In interpreting the complaint broadly and realistically, the court could not construe the plaintiff as suing the defendant in its capacity as a medical provider. None of the allegations claimed that the plaintiff was a recipient of medical services, or that she had a medical professional-patient relationship with the defendant, or that the defendant's decision to force her to leave before her son returned to the hospital involved the exercise of medical judgment. Reading the complaint broadly, as required, one could infer that the defendant forced the plaintiff to leave because her granddaughter was being disruptive. The fact that the granddaughter was thrashing around after a medical procedure did not negate the actual, non-medically related reason for the discharge—a disruptive child. A reasonable reading of allegations indicated that the plaintiff was not alleging a wheelchair was necessary for the child's medical treatment, but as something to prevent the plaintiff from becoming injured while transporting the child from the facilities. Although a certain subparagraph employed language typically used to denote medical malpractice, reading it in context revealed that it was merely an inartfully worded description of the circumstances surrounding the ejectment from the hospital. In essence, the plaintiff, who was not under the defendant's medical care, was alleging that the defendant should not have forced her to leave its premises unaided. Such allegations do not constitute medical malpractice.