from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark D. Cleve,
patient appeals a malpractice verdict in favor of her medical
providers, claiming two evidentiary errors by the district
K. Weston II of Tom Riley Law Firm, Iowa City, for appellant.
V.P. Waterman, Jr. and Trista M. Beise (until withdrawal) of
Lane & Waterman, LLP, Davenport, for appellee.
by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
appeal arises from Lauren Sherrick's medical malpractice
suit against Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists,
Following a five-day trial, the jury returned a verdict
finding the OB/GYN clinic was not negligent in treating
Sherrick. On appeal, Sherrick challenges two evidentiary
rulings from that trial. We find no abuse of discretion in
the first ruling and no prejudice from the second. As a
result, we affirm the verdict.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
2013, Sherrick began receiving prenatal care from midwives at
the OB/GYN clinic in Davenport. Ten weeks into her pregnancy,
Sherrick visited the OB/GYN clinic for an ultrasound
appointment. The sonographer performed a transabdominal
ultrasound. Dr. Kenneth Naylor interpreted
Sherrick's ultrasound following her appointment and
reported no apparent abnormalities.
next month, Sherrick returned to the OB/GYN clinic
twice-complaining of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, inability to
urinate, and weight loss. A midwife prescribed medication for
Sherrick's symptoms. At first Sherrick reported
improvement. But her condition quickly deteriorated. Sensing
"something wasn't right," Sherrick sought
emergency care at Genesis Medical Center in early September
admitted Sherrick for overnight monitoring. She underwent
testing and received intravenous (IV) fluids and medication.
Dr. Jessica Sandmeier oversaw Sherrick's treatment
throughout the night. When Dr. Carolyn Martin arrived for her
shift the following morning, she reviewed Sherrick's
chart and conferred with Dr. Sandmeier. The two doctors
believed Sherrick might be suffering from HELLP syndrome. They
discussed the risk of a partial molar
pregnancy. Dr. Martin agreed to review the results of
an ultrasound scheduled that morning and follow up with
that morning, Dr. Martin learned Sherrick's ultrasound
revealed a partial molar pregnancy. Dr. Martin shared the
difficult news with Sherrick. The doctor explained her
pregnancy was not "viable" and had to be terminated
for her health. After Dr. Martin outlined her treatment
options, Sherrick chose transfer to University of Iowa
Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). An ambulance transported
Sherrick there. Upon arrival, Sherrick met with her treating
physician, Dr. Abbey Hardy-Fairbanks. After the doctor
terminated her pregnancy, Sherrick continued to receive care
at UIHC for three days.
the OB/GYN clinic was negligent in failing to timely diagnose
her partial molar pregnancy, Sherrick filed a malpractice
lawsuit in July 2015. Sherrick focused on the OB/GYN
clinic's decision to perform a transabdominal rather than
a transvaginal ultrasound at the ten-week mark of her
pregnancy and its failure to conduct more frequent urinalysis
during August 2013. Sherrick alleged a transvaginal
ultrasound would have revealed fetal abnormalities,
increasing the probability of an earlier diagnosis. And
urinalysis would have alerted OB/GYN physicians to the
presence of ketones, a sign of hyperemesis that points to a
potential partial molar pregnancy. Sherrick asserted had the
OB/GYN clinic treated her in accordance with the standard of
care, medical providers would have discovered her condition
earlier, and the resulting physiological effects would not
have been as significant.
Sherrick sued, the parties timely disclosed their expert
witnesses. Sherrick named midwife Caron W. Jones as an
expert, and added:
Plaintiff intends to rely on opinions expressed by her
physicians at [UIHC]. These witnesses are not retained
experts, but are Plaintiff's treating physicians and will
offer opinions formed in the course of their treatment of
Plaintiff. In addition, Plaintiff reserves the right to
utilize additional treating health care providers who may or
will testify regarding issues of informed consent, standard
of care, causation and damages.
OB/GYN clinic designated several expert witnesses: Drs.
Sandmeier, Margaret Smollen, Kenneth Naylor, and Carolyn
Martin, as well as ...