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<P>In this medical malpractice wrongful death case, defendants appeal as of right a judgment
in favor of plaintiff. We reverse the trial court's denial of defendants' motion for summary
disposition on plaintiff's claim for lack of informed consent, vacate the trial court's judgment,
and remand for a new trial.
In May 1998, the decedent, Michael Wrobel, was diagnosed with kidney failure. At the
time of diagnosis, he was a senior in high school. Medical testing confirmed that plaintiff, the
decedent's mother, would be a suitable kidney donor. The decedent and his mother researched
various hospitals and discovered that defendant William Beaumont Hospital had a high success
rate for kidney transplants according to mandatory reports that were posted on the website of a
national organization. They visited the hospital and were introduced to defendant Dr. StevenCohn, who explained the procedure. On July 14, 1999, Dr. Cohn transplanted one of plaintiff's
kidneys to the decedent. The decedent suffered severe post-operative complications, including a
blood clot in the blood vessel feeding the transplanted kidney. Dr. Cohn removed the clot, but
the transplanted kidney ultimately failed anyway. Doctors removed the failed kidney and
decedent resumed kidney dialysis. The decedent's health continued to decline over the next year, and he ultimately elected to withdraw from kidney dialysis and entered a hospice program.
<P>He died on September 24, 2000.
<P>On July 13, 2001, plaintiff filed a medical malpractice wrongful death action against
defendants. Plaintiff's original complaint alleged that defendants committed several errors
related to the blood clot that appeared after the operation. Plaintiff amended the complaint to
include a count for defendants' failure to garner plaintiff's and decedent's informed consent.
Plaintiff based this count on an alleged discrepancy between the hospital's reported success rate
for kidney transplants, which she apparently found while researching hospitals, and its actual
success rate. She also alleged a discrepancy between the personal success rate Dr. Cohn reported
to her and his actual success rate. Plaintiff did not support this amended complaint with an
affidavit of merit. Nevertheless, plaintiff again moved to amend her complaint, and the proposed
amendments alleged that the negligent use of drugs that suppressed decedent's immune system
led to an infection that caused the kidney to fail. The trial court allowed the amendment, but
insisted that plaintiff include an affidavit of merit for the additional counts.
The version of the amended complaint that plaintiff filed differed from the version she
attached to her amendment motion. It included additional allegations regarding the negligent use
of mesh in decedent's blood clot operation to hasten healing of the surgical wound. It alleged
that the use of mesh led to an infection that compromised the kidney. Plaintiff presented an
Elsevier Store: Comprehensive Hospital Medicine, 1st Edition from Mark Williams, Scott Flanders, Winthrop Whitcomb, StevenCohn, Frank Michota, Russell Holman, Richard Gross, Geno Merli. ISBN-9781416002970, Printbook , Release Date: 2007