Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Hardi v. Mezzanotte

District of Columbia Court of Appeals
818 A.2d 974 (2003)


Facts

Mezzanotte (plaintiff) was seen by Dr. Hardi (defendant), a gastroenterologist, because she believed she had a recurring bout of diverticulitis, an infectious condition affecting the colon. Hardi took a medical history, had Mezzanotte’s prior x-ray of her abdomen, and noted in her chart that a previous physician had treated the diverticulitis condition with antibiotics. During a physical examination, Hardi felt a mass he believed could either be related to the diverticulitis or be a cancerous tumor. Hardi did not proceed with commonly-performed testing to determine the presence of diverticulitis and, instead, referred her to a gynecologist, Dr. Match. Match ordered blood tests to determine whether Mezzanotte may have ovarian cancer. The tests, typically 80 percent accurate, were negative. An ultrasound revealed a mass in Mezzanotte’s abdomen, but it was unclear whether it was diverticular or gynecological. Despite the unclear diagnosis, Match ordered a complete hysterectomy that was “cleared” by Hardi. Before the surgery, Match requested that Hardi perform additional gastrological testing to rule out any other possible condition. Hardi unsuccessfully performed a sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy on Mezzanotte. There was an obstruction in her colon caused by the diverticulitis that should have been a red flag to Hardi that something was wrong with her bowel. Hardi also asked a radiologist to perform a barium enema on Mezzanotte which was also unsuccessful due to the obstruction. Mezzanotte’s condition deteriorated rapidly and she had to be admitted to an area hospital. She underwent surgery for a hysterectomy as well as to remove infectious tissue caused by the diverticulitis. At that point, the surgeon informed Mezzanotte’s husband that she had diverticulitis, not cancer. Mezzanotte was required to undergo four additional operations and spent almost three months as an in-patient. Mezzanotte sued Hardi for negligent misdiagnosis. After a jury was unable to reach a verdict, a bench trial found against Hardi and awarded over $900,000 in damages to Mezzanotte. Hardi appealed, arguing that the statute of limitations barred plaintiff’s negligence action.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wagner, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 241,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.