Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Utah Supreme Court Recognizes Negligent Credentialing as a Valid Claim

On May 14, the Utah Supreme Court recognized negligent credentialing as a valid cause of action in a legal claim against a hospital in Archuleta v. St. Mark's Hospital.

The plaintiff, Tina Archuleta, had undergone a laparotomy procedure performed by Dr. R. Chad Halversen at St. Mark's Hospital. Two days later, she was admitted to another facility, experiencing pain and complications from the procedure. Archuleta underwent six surgeries to correct the procedure.

Archuleta filed a suit against Halversen and St. Mark's Hospital. In her complaint against the hospital, she claimed that St. Mark's "failed to seek consult when appropriate, inadequately trained healthcare provider employees, negligently credentialed. . . [Dr.] Halversen and generally fell below the standard of care."

The district court dismissed her negligent credentialing claim, stating that such action was barred by the sections of the Utah Code that protect the dissemination of peer review information. The Utah Supreme Court ruled that the district court was incorrect in its application of the code, ruling that "the immunity contemplated under the statue operates between a doctor whose credentials are under review and the suppliers of information and decision makers; it does not contemplate immunity between a patient and a hospital."

In its opinion, the Utah Supreme Court stated that there is a public interest in recognizing negligent credentialing claims because there is a "foreseeability of harm to patients where hospitals fail to properly investigate a doctor's qualifications" (citing Johnson v. Misericordia), and because of the "superior position [of hospitals] to monitor and control physician performance" (citing Domingo v. Doe).

To read the full opinion, click here:

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