Fifth District affirms summary judgment in St. Clair County case

The Fifth District Appellate Court has affirmed a St. Clair County ruling that granted summary judgment to a doctor sued for negligence.

In an unpublished order released late last month, the appeals panel agreed with St. Clair County Associate Judge Richard A. Aguirre’s conclusion that Dr. James Wade was entitled to summary judgment because there was no genuine issue of material fact.

Justice Melissa Chapman delivered the judgment of the court and Justices Thomas Welch and James Wexstten concurred.

In 2001, Janel Davinroy filed a medical negligence lawsuit against Wade, Healthlink, Olsten Certified Healthcare Corp., St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville and Dr. Robert Haake. She brought the suit as the administrator and executor of her deceased mother’s estate.

Davinroy’s mother, Carol Wenneman, had spinal surgery in 1999, after which time she was readmitted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital three times with an infection.

During her last admission, the appellate court order states, it was determined that Wenneman was suffering from kidney function issues.

She consulted with a nephrologist, Haake, and was put on medications to treat her kidney problems, but they allegedly lowered her immune system. She then developed sepsis and adult respiratory distress syndrome, was readmitted to the hospital and died.

In her lawsuit, Davinroy accused Wade, her mother’s primary care physician, of improperly monitoring her mother’s care, among other things. She claimed that that negligence was the proximate cause of Wenneman’s death.

She filed a second amended complaint in 2002 and settled with Haake and Healthlink, both of whom were dismissed from the suit as defendants. She also dismissed the claims against St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Olsten Health Care.

Wade filed a motion for summary judgment in July 2011, asserting that there was no genuine issue of matter fact when it came to proximate causation.

According to the appellate court order, Aguirre granted Wade’s motion after considering all of the trial testimony of Davinroy’s experts.

Aguirre, the order states, concluded that Wade was entitled to summary judgment because Davinroy didn’t offer any expert testimony to show that Wade’s alleged negligence caused or contributed to her mother’s death.

“While the complaint contains multiple allegations of neglect by Dr. Wade, we must review the expert opinions regarding these allegations,” Chapman wrote for the appeals panel. “No one provided opinions that anything Dr. Wade did, or did not do, had bearing on the ultimate cause of her death.”

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