from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, Richard
D. Stochl, Judge.
appeal following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff on
her medical malpractice claim.
Timothy C. Boller of Weilein & Boller, PC, Cedar Falls,
and Nancy J. Penner of Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, PLC,
Cedar Rapids, for appellant Winneshiek Medical Center.
Gregory E. Karpenko of Fredrickson & Byron, PA,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Kevin J. Visser and Christine L.
Conover of Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC, Cedar Rapids,
for appellant Mayo Clinic Health System-Decorah Clinic.
J. Reilly of Trial Lawyers for Justice, Decorah, for
by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
who underwent a CT scan at a local hospital had a severe
allergic reaction to the contrast dye administered with the
scan. She filed a medical malpractice action against the
hospital for which the attending physician worked as well as
the local hospital where she was treated. A jury awarded her
damages. On appeal, the hospitals contend the woman failed to
prove their conduct caused the injury. One of the hospitals
also argues the woman did not establish a breach of the
standard of care.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Moore had a heart attack in 2005. During follow-up care, she
was administered an angiogram with contrast dye. Her blood
pressure dropped, and she was informed she had an allergy to
the dye. After learning of the allergy, Moore attached a
sticker to the back of her driver's license stating
"no contrast dye."
years later, Moore experienced chest pain at work. An
ambulance was called and paramedics transported her to the
emergency room of Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah
(Winneshiek). Moore said she told the paramedics about her
allergies to penicillin and contrast dye.
Moore's arrival at the hospital, a nurse asked her about
allergies. Moore told her she was allergic to penicillin and
contrast dye. Dr. Kent Svestka entered the room. He worked
for Mayo Clinic Health System-Decorah Clinic (Mayo) and
served as the medical director of the Winneshiek emergency
department. According to Moore, she or someone else in the
room told Dr. Svestka about the allergies. Dr. Svestka
examined Moore and ordered certain standard tests to gauge
her chest pain.
Dr. Svestka noticed that Moore appeared to be in severe pain.
He suspected she might be experiencing a rare condition known
as an aortic dissection. Dr. Svestka ordered a CT scan with
contrast dye, the only test at Winneshiek that he believed
could conclusively rule out the condition. He testified he
was unaware of Moore's allergy to contrast dye.
person who took Moore to the radiology department to undergo
the CT scan asked Moore about allergies. Moore "told her
penicillin and contrast dye." The person conveyed the
allergy information to the CT technician. The technician, in
turn, questioned Moore about her allergies. Moore repeated
what she told the intake nurse-that she "was allergic to
penicillin and contrast dye." The technician asked her
what the issue was with the contrast dye. Moore told her that
her "blood pressure dropped."
technician placed Moore into the CT machine. When Moore came
out, she screamed that something was wrong, then lost
consciousness. Moore's heart stopped beating for at least
five minutes. Moore awoke to her crying family and a priest
"giving [her] the last [rites]." Later, physicians
at Mayo Clinic told her she had been administered the
sued Winneshiek and Mayo for medical malpractice. She alleged
their employees "failed [to] use the degree of skill,
care and learning ordinarily possessed and exercised by other
medical providers." The district court ...