COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Docket Number: 48070-1
File Date: 01/24/2017
Keisha Baumgartner appeals the summary judgment dismissal of her medical malpractice wrongful death claim against anesthesiologist Dr. Mark Morehart and Columbia Anesthesia Group, P.S. (together Dr. Morehart). Baumgartner filed suit based on the death of her mother, Angela Baumgartner (Ms. Baumgartner), from excessive blood loss during surgery.
Ms. Baumgartner was a Jehovah’s Witness who refused to accept blood transfusions. But she accepted the use of a 'cell saver' machine, which is designed to collect the patient’s lost blood, recycle that blood, and re-infuse the blood into the patient’s own body. During surgery Ms. Baumgartner began bleeding heavily, but the suction tube used to collect her blood dropped below the sterile field and became contaminated before it could collect any blood. The cell saver machine technician, Michelle Hendrix, announced that Jehovah’s Witness protocol had been broken and the machine had been contaminated, and therefore that the machine could no longer be used. The surgery proceeded without the cell saver machine. Ms. Baumgartner eventually died because of her blood loss.
Baumgartner argues that Dr. Morehart was negligent in failing to direct the surgical team to set up the cell saver machine on standby and failing to direct Hendrix to continue using the machine during Ms. Baumgartner’s surgery after replacing the contaminated suction tube.
We hold that Baumgartner’s claims fail because she did not establish (1) that the standard of care required the cell saver machine to be set up on standby, and (2) what standard of care applied when Hendrix announced to the surgical team that the entire cell saver machine had been contaminated, not just the suction tube. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s summary judgment dismissal of Baumgartner’s claims against Dr. Morehart.https://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/D2%2048070-1-II%20Unpublished%20Opinion.pdf