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Cooney-Koss v. Barlow

Supreme Court of Delaware

March 7, 2014

LAURA COONEY-KOSS and JEROME KOSS, Plaintiffs Below, Appellants,
v.
JENNIFER H. BARLOW, M.D., Defendant Below, Appellee. A. DIANE McCRACKEN, M.D., and ALL ABOUT WOMEN OF CHRISTIANA CARE, INC., Defendants Below, Appellants,
v.
LAURA COONEY-KOSS and JEROME KOSS, Plaintiffs Below, Appellees

Submitted December 11, 2013.

Case Closed March 25, 2014.

Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County. C.A. No. N10C-10-230 WCC. Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County. C.A. No. N10C-10-230 WCC.

REVERSED and REMANDED. AFFIRMED.

Gregory S. McKee, Esquire, (argued), and Joshua H. Meyeroff, Esquire, Wharton Levin Ehrmantraut & Klein, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellants A. Diane McCracken, M.D. and All About Women of Christiana Care, Inc. and Cross-Appellee Jennifer H. Barlow, M.D.

Robert J. Leoni, Esquire, (argued), and Gilbert F. Shelsby, Jr., Esquire, Shelsby & Leoni, Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellees/Cross Appellants Laura Cooney-Koss and Jerome Koss.

Before HOLLAND, BERGER and JACOBS, Justices.

OPINION

Page 1212

BERGER, Justice:

In this medical malpractice action we consider whether the Superior Court committed reversible error by denying appellants' motion for judgment as a matter of law, and by excluding certain evidence. The trial court correctly determined that appellees' medical expert evidence supported a verdict in their favor. Thus, its denial of the motion for judgment as a matter of law is affirmed. The trial court's

Page 1213

evidentiary rulings, however, constituted an abuse of discretion requiring a new trial.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On April 22, 2010, Dr. Jennifer Barlow performed a Caesarean section on Laura Cooney-Koss to deliver her baby. There were no apparent complications from the delivery, and Laura was discharged from Christiana Hospital three days later. On the morning of May 2, 2010, Laura suffered heavy vaginal bleeding, and she returned to the hospital by ambulance.

In an attempt to slow or stop her bleeding, a hospital physician gave Laura medicine to contract her uterus. The doctor then took an ultrasound of Laura's uterus, and determined that she would need a procedure known as a dilation and evacuation (" D& E" ). Dr. A. Diane McCracken performed the D& E, removing blood clots and debris from Laura's uterus. During that procedure, McCracken actively massaged Laura's uterus and gave her additional medicine to try to stop her bleeding. Those efforts were unsuccessful.

McCracken tried to find other possible sources of the bleeding by performing a laparotomy. Throughout that procedure, McCracken again massaged Laura's uterus. The laparotomy was unrevealing, and Laura continued to bleed. During the 30 minutes that McCracken had been treating her, Laura lost approximately one liter of blood. McCracken decided to perform a hysterectomy, believing that ...


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