Grewe v. Mount Clemens General Hospital

Decision Date29 March 1977
Docket NumberDocket No. 27018
Citation74 Mich.App. 479,253 N.W.2d 805
PartiesLaverne GREWE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MOUNT CLEMENS GENERAL HOSPITAL and Dr. Michael Fugle, Defendants-Appellants. 74 Mich.App. 479, 253 N.W.2d 805
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

[74 MICHAPP 480] Kitch & Suhrheinrich, P. C. by Richard A. Kitch, Detroit, for defendants-appellants.

Lopatin, Miller, Bindes & Freedman by Michael Gagleard, Detroit, for plaintiff-appellee.

Before T. M. BURNS, P. J., and QUINN and CAVANAGH, JJ.

T. M. BURNS, Presiding Judge.

After Remand

While at work on March 20, 1967, plaintiff received an electrical shock at about 11 p.m. He suffered a dislocated shoulder. He was admitted to defendant hospital in the early morning hours of March 21, 1967.

Plaintiff was initially seen by Dr. Hoffman. He examined the plaintiff and referred him to Dr. Fagen, an orthopedic surgeon with staff privileges, for examination of the arm. Fagen referred plaintiff to Dr. Fugle, an orthopedic resident at the hospital. Plaintiff complained that his arm and shoulder hurt and that he felt a tingling sensation in his upper extremity. After reviewing x-rays of the arm and consulting with Dr. Fagen, Fugle [74 MICHAPP 481] attempted closed reduction of the dislocated shoulder. Plaintiff testified that Fugle attempted to replace the shoulder several times without success. Dr. Katzowitz, an internal medicine specialist on the staff of the hospital, also attempted reduction of the shoulder, while Dr. Fugle watched.

On March 28, 1967, plaintiff underwent surgery for the removal of bone fragments and repair of the head biceps tendon and joint capsule.

In his amended complaint plaintiff alleged that the hospital was responsible for the negligence of its staff doctors and interns in the treatment of the plaintiff which resulted in his suffering a brachial plexus injury and a fracture of the greater tuberosity. The theory upon which plaintiff sought recovery rests upon expert testimony that a closed reduction of a dislocated shoulder should be attempted within one to three hours after the dislocation unless a general anesthetic is used. After that time, the reduction should not be attempted without the anesthetic. The theory is that muscle spasms will occur and the muscles need to be relaxed. If muscle spasms have occurred or if too much force is applied in the reduction, injuries such as those suffered by the plaintiff could result.

Both Dr. Fugle and Dr. Katzowitz attempted reduction. Katzowitz admitted attempting a reduction by placing his foot on the plaintiff's chest while he pulled on his arm. Katzowitz attempted the reduction some 16 hours after the dislocation occurred. Plaintiff was given no anesthetic. There is some indication that plaintiff was experiencing muscle spasms at that time. In short, there was sufficient evidence to support a jury finding of negligence on the part of Dr. Katzowitz. Thus, the jury could have found the hospital liable for the negligent acts of at least one of the staff doctors.

[74 MICHAPP 482] In his instructions to the jury, the trial court stated that "(I)f you find that the defendant hospital, as well as their agents, servants and Doctor Fugle did breach the standard of practice of this and similar communities in their reducing of the shoulder, then you are to compute such damages you feel resulted from the departure of the standard of practice."

Later the judge stated:

"I further charge you, members of the jury, that the hospital was under a duty to a patient to see that he was provided with competent medical care and treatment while he was confined there. If the hospital does not provide him with proper and competent medical care and treatment, the hospital would be liable for the negligence of the person that they so provided who was on their staff or who is a resident in training or internist."

The trial judge initially told the jury that their verdict would be either for the plaintiff or for the defendants. The plaintiff objected to this charge. The jury was returned and the judge told them to disregard the previous instruction regarding the form of the verdict:

"If you agree upon a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, against both defendants, you may return your verdict in the following form: We, the jury, find in favor of the plaintiff, against both defendants, and assess [74 MICHAPP 483] damages at so many dollars.

"If you agree upon a verdict in favor of the plaintiff against Mount Clemens General Hospital, but not against Doctor Fugle, your form of verdict will be, we, the jury, find in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant, Mount Clemens General Hospital, and assess damages at so many dollars, and we...

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3 cases
  • Fjerstad v. Knutson
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • October 26, 1978
    ... ... Dr. John M. KNUTSON and Sioux Valley Hospital, a South ... Dakota Corporation, Defendants and ... Dade County, 99 So.2d 575 (Fla.1957); Grewe v. Mount Clemens General ... Hospital, 74 Mich.App. 479, ... ...
  • Slaten v. Earl Campbell Clinic Hospital
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1978
    ...jury instructions and, therefore, is not fatally inconsistent, as insisted by the defendant. Accord, Grewe v. Mount Clemens General Hospital, 74 Mich.App. 479, 253 N.W.2d 805 (1977). This is not a case in which the sole basis for liability of the master is the alleged act of a servant whom ......
  • Grewe v. Mt. Clemens General Hospital
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • December 28, 1978
    ...the verdict. The motion was denied. The hospital pursued an appeal to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 74 Mich.App. 479, 253 N.W.2d 805 (1977). We granted the hospital leave to appeal, limited to three issues: (1) whether the jury's verdict of no cause of action as to Dr......

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