Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Scott v. SSM Healthcare St. Louis case brief

Scott v. SSM Healthcare St. Louis case brief summary
70 S.W.3d 560 (2002)

Appellee patient and his mother sued appellant hospital in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis (Missouri) for medical malpractice. The jury found that a doctor was the hospital's agent, found in favor of the patient and his mother, allocated fault between the agent and the hospital's doctor, and awarded the patient and his mother damages. The trial court reduced the award under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.210 (2000). The hospital appealed.


The patient was taken to the hospital after an accident. Later, he returned to the hospital with a headache. A doctor for a radiology firm that provided services to the hospital reviewed the patient's cat scan film and found that it was normal. A doctor the hospital employed found the patient suffered from a concussion and sent him home. Later, the patient collapsed, suffering from partial paralysis caused by an undiagnosed and untreated sinus infection that spread to the patient's brain and caused permanent injury. The radiology doctor settled with the patient and his mother.


  • On appeal, the court found 
  • (1) the evidence was sufficient to present a jury question as to whether the radiology doctor was an agent for the hospital;
  • (2) the hospital was completely liable for the acts of the two doctors and was not entitled to a reduction in the verdict based on any apportionment of fault between the doctors; 
  • (3) the hospital was entitled to a setoff of the radiology doctor's settlement pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.060 (2000); and 
  • (4) application of two separate damage caps was appropriate as there were two instances of medical malpractice under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.210 (2000).


The judgment was affirmed.

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