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Negligence: Medical Malpractice-Jury Instructions

Defendant appealed from the jury verdict entered against it in the medical-malpractice, wrongful-death case filed by plaintiffs after decedent, an admitted high-risk candidate for surgery, died from complications following surgery. On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erroneously charged the jury on the law for punitive damages and further contended that the claim for additional damages was not supported by clear and convincing evidence.

Where there was no distinction between the statute and the model instruction, the trial court did not err in instructing the jury on punitive damages, where the evidence supported finding there was a complete indifference to or conscious disregard of decedent’s safety in offering decedent, who was suffering from mild issues, the highest-risk surgical option and then negligently performing the surgical procedure.

Judgment is affirmed.

Rhoden v. Missouri Delta Medical Center (MLW No. 74369/Case No. SD35898 – 19 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Rahmeyer, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Scott County, Dolan, J. (Joseph Cullen Blanton , Jr., Sikestown, for appellant) (Douglas Patrick Dowd, St. Louis for respondent)