Hall v. Hilbun
Supreme Court of Mississippi
466 So.2d 856 (1985)
Dr. Glyn Hilbun (defendant), a general surgeon, examined Terry Hall (plaintiff) who was complaining of abdominal pain. Hilbun concluded that there was likely an obstruction in Hall’s small bowel and recommended an exploratory surgical procedure, which was performed with Hall’s consent. After the procedure, Hilbun accompanied Hall back to her private room. At that time, Hall’s vital signs were stable and she was alert and communicating with Hilbun. Shortly thereafter, Hilbun left the hospital for the evening. That night, Hall repeatedly complained of abdominal pain to her nurses and her husband. Throughout the evening and night, Hilbun did not follow-up on Hall’s condition and the nursing staff did not call him. Early the next morning Hilbun was called to the hospital when Hall’s condition rapidly deteriorated. By the time Hilbun arrived, Hall had died. At autopsy revealed that a sponge had been left in Hall’s abdominal cavity, but had not contributed to her death. Hall’s husband filed a malpractice/wrongful death action against Hilbun alleging that he failed to inquire about Hall’s post-operation recovery and failed to give appropriate post-operation instructions to the hospital nursing staff. At trial, Hall’s husband called Dr. Hoerr as an expert witness to establish a national standard of care applicable to all surgeons including the duty to “follow the patient” through the first several hours after surgery to monitor for complications. The trial court disqualified Hoerr as a expert witness because he was not familiar with the local standard of care. Hilbun was granted a directed verdict and Hall’s husband appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Robertson, J.)
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