Laurel v. PrinceAnnotate this Case
Defendants Hector Laurel, M.D., Crissey Watkins, and Comprehensive Anesthesia Services, P.C. ("CAS"), sought a permissive appeal to challenge the circuit court's order denying their motions for a summary judgment. Plaintiff Tiffany Prince underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy at The Madison Surgery Center. During the anesthetic induction, Watkins administered what she believed to be 4 milligrams of Zofran from a syringe that had a white label with a handwritten letter "Z" on the label. Watkins testified that that medication had been drawn into the syringe by Dr. Laurel, an anesthesiologist. After the medication was administered, and while Prince was moving from the preoperative stretcher to the operating-room stretcher, Prince became weak and was having trouble breathing. Watkins called for an anesthesiologist and assisted Prince with a bag mask. Subsequently, Dr. Hoger, another anesthesiologist, came in and administered anesthesia medication to Prince. Watkins testified that Dr. Laurel came into the room sometime during the induction of Prince. When talking to Dr. Laurel, Watkins learned that the syringe with the white label actually contained Zemuron, a paralytic, and that the syringe had been used on a previous patient ("Patient A"). Watkins testified that, during Patient A's induction, she had disposed of a syringe of Zemuron because she had touched the cap. Subsequently, she said, Dr. Laurel had drawn another syringe of Zemuron for Patient A. Watkins testified that she subsequently checked Patient A's medical records and that Patient A's medical history was negative for a history of HIV and hepatitis C. During the year following her surgery, Prince underwent routine testing for HIV and hepatitis C, and all of Prince's tests were negative. Prince did not pay for any of the testing. Prince later sued Dr. Laurel, Watkins, and CAS, alleging medical malpractice. The trial court entered orders denying the defendants' motions for a summary judgment. Defendants subsequently filed a "Motion to Reconsider or, Alternatively, Motion for Certification of Order for Appeal," which the trial court also denied. The defendants then filed a petition for a permissive appeal to the Supreme Court, which was granted. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding that undisputed expert testimony established that there was no medical basis for concluding that Prince had a risk of developing any disease based on the use of the contaminated syringe, and her test results had all been negative. The trial court should have granted the defendants' motions for a summary judgment on that basis.