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Alexander v. Scheid

Indiana Supreme Court
726 N.E.2d 272 (2000)


In June 1993, 60-year-old JoAnn Alexander (plaintiff) had a chest X-ray taken in preparation for hip surgery. The report noted a “density” in Alexander’s lungs and recommended that the current X-ray be compared with previous ones. Alexander’s doctor, Kevin Scheid (defendant), received the report but did not follow up. In spring of 1994, Alexander saw a different doctor after she began spitting up blood. A second X-ray showed a large mass in her lung, and a biopsy revealed it to be cancerous. The cancer had metastasized. Following chemotherapy and radiation, Alexander entered remission in October 1994. Alexander and her husband, Jack (plaintiff), sued Scheid and Orthopaedics Indianapolis (defendants) for medical malpractice and loss of consortium. The complaint alleged that the defendants’ negligence had caused Alexander physical harm, reduced life expectancy, and emotional distress. In depositions, experts for Alexander opined that in June 1993, her cancer was in Stage I with no metastasis and approximately 70 percent chance of recovery; by May 1994, the cancer was in Stage IIIa with a five-year survival rate of approximately 20 percent. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted on the grounds that Alexander had no current physical injury and could not recover for an increased risk of injury that might or might not occur in the future. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Boehm, J.)

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