June 16, 2016
Last week the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment for Dr. Todd Frieze and other co-defendants dismissing medical negligence claims filed against them by Carol Gray.
In May 2009, a biopsy of Gray’s spine showed that she had multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer. The lab results were sent to Dr. Eric Graham, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the biopsy. The Plaintiff alleged Dr. Graham failed to communicate those results to Ms. Gray. Over one year later, another doctor discovered the biopsy results in Gray’s medical records and shared with Gray, for the first time, that she had bone cancer. Gray alleges that she suffered additional fractures and bone lesions as a result of her doctors’ failure to diagnose her with multiple myeloma.
Ms. Gray filed suit against Dr. Graham and a nurse practitioner in his office for failing to timely disclose the lab results to her. She also sued her primary care physician and his hospital-employer for failing to disclose those same lab results. Ms. Gray sued Dr. Frieze, an endocrinologist for failing to diagnose her with multiple myeloma. Of note is the fact her first and apparently only visit with Dr. Frieze was after the lab results had been sent to Dr. Graham, and for the express purpose of treating Ms. Gray’s osteoperosis,
The lower court first granted summary judgment as Dr. Graham and the nurse-practitioner, which the Plaintiff appealed. The lower court later granted another summary judgment, this time to the remaining defendants, including Dr. Frieze. The Plaintiff appealed that decision separately.
In February of 2016, the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment as to Dr. Graham and the nurse practitioner. However four months later that same court affirmed summary judgment as to Dr. Frieze and the other defendants. With regard to Dr. Frieze, the Court held “there is no evidence that Dr. Frieze was provided with those [lab] results or was even aware that the biopsy had occurred.” Furthermore, the Court found that Ms. Gray’s expert, “Dr. Avery fails to explain how or why Dr. Frieze should have leapt from that diagnosis [of osteoperosis] to a cancer diagnosis.” Finally the Court found the Plaintiff’s expert failed to adquately explain how a diagnosis of cancer by Dr. Frieze at some unspecified time would have prevented any future injury to her.
Stephen Burrow represented Dr. Frieze on the appeal. The case at the trial court was handled by both Mr. Burrow and James Heidelberg.
You can read the Court of Appeal’s decision by clicking here.