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Esquivel v. Watters

Court of Appeals of Kansas
154 P.3d 1184 (2007)


Facts

After receiving obstetric counseling at Ark City Clinic (defendant), a pregnant Michelle Esquivel (plaintiff) went to the South Central Kansas Regional Medical Center (SCKRMC) (defendant) for a free sonogram to determine the sex of the baby. Prior to the procedure, Michelle signed a consent and waiver of liability form stating that there was no guarantee that a gender could conclusively be determined and that the sole purpose of the test was to determine the baby’s gender—not to determine any fetal abnormalities or other complications. A technician at the SCKRMC performed the sonogram and, while taking pictures, noticed that the baby’s bowel was outside of his body, a condition known as gastroschisis. The technician was unable to determine the gender due to the presence of this condition. The technician did not inform Michelle of the condition because he was not qualified to make a medical diagnosis. He sent the sonogram pictures to a radiologist at Ark City Clinic who refused to view them because the procedure was solely to determine the sex of the baby. The technician also orally informed Michelle’s obstetrician, Dr. Aaron Watters, (defendant) of the condition. No written report was made by either the technician or Watters regarding the conversation. Shortly thereafter, Watters asked a nurse to follow up with Michelle. She was unsuccessful. During subsequent prenatal visits, Watters forgot to inform Michelle of the baby’s medical condition. Michelle gave birth to Jadon about one month later when she, her husband Jesse, and the medical staff became aware of his condition. Jadon was transferred to another hospital the same day and a physician performed surgery on Jadon, but informed the Esquivels that there was no hope for his survival. Jadon died approximately one month later. Michelle and Jesse Esquivel (plaintiffs) brought suit against the Ark City Clinic, Watters and the SCKRMC for the wrongful death of Jadon. The district court granted summary judgment to all of the defendants. The Equivels appealed the summary judgments of Watters and the SCKRMC.

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Holding and Reasoning (Per curium)

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  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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