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Sides v. St. Anthony’s Medical Center

Supreme Court of Missouri
258 S.W.3d 811 (2008)


Facts

Mrs. Sides (plaintiff) underwent back surgery at St. Anthony’s Medical Center (defendant). The surgery was performed by Dr. Lee (defendant), an employee of Tesson Heights Orthopedic and Arthroscopic Associates, P.C. (defendant). Following the surgery, Mrs. Sides and her husband filed suit for negligence, alleging that she was infected by E. coli during her surgery. Mr. and Mrs. Sides based their claim on a theory of res ipsa loquitur, arguing that the type of infection suffered does not ordinarily occur in the absence of negligence; Mrs. Sides was unconscious during the surgery; her body, the surgical site, and the equipment used were under the management or control of Dr. Lee and St. Anthony’s employees; and Dr. Lee, St. Anthony’s, and Tesson Heights had more access to information about the cause of injury than Mr. and Mrs. Sides. The trial court dismissed the case, finding that Mr. and Mrs. Sides could not use expert testimony to support their res ipsa loquitur theory of medical malpractice. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District entered an opinion, but granted transfer to this court.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • 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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