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2011 Cornerstone Casework: Malkmus Law Firm LLC

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This case is now on appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court. Plaintiffs sued for medical malpractice after Theresa Paulino was paralyzed after neck surgery at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale, Ark. The plaintiffs settled with the surgeon and a monitoring technician but alleged that the hospital failed to properly investigate the competency of the surgeon and technician, who were independent. A summary judgment motion was filed to dismiss the case before trial, arguing that plaintiffs’ claims of relief for negligent credentialing are not recognized by Arkansas law. The defense also argued that the Arkansas Peer Review Statute and federal quality assurance statutes effectively bar such claims, and that no such duty exists for hospitals granting privileges to independent practitioners. The trial court granted the summary judgment in its entirety, dismissing the case with prejudice. If the ruling is affirmed, it will set precedent that hospitals are protected by the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act.

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