Michigan Appellate Court Outlines Factors That May Create Vicarious Liability

January 3, 2024 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​In a case involving an appeal from denial of three motions for summary judgement (MSJ), the Michigan appellate court, in its opinion, outlines several factors that could raise sufficient issues of fact that support resolution by jury versus dismissal through an MSJ.

In this case, surgery was recommended to a 56-year-old female patient with a history of hyperparathyroidism (i.e., the parathyroid glands produce excess parathyroid hormone). The proposed procedure was a minimally invasive right inferior parathyroidectomy. The surgeon explained the procedure and associated risks, including that he might need to remove the entire thyroid gland. The surgeon claimed that the patient consented to the surgery as described; however, the patient testified that she told the physician she would not consent to removal of the thyroid due to the risk of damage to her larynx because she worked as a casino card dealer and needed to be able to speak clearly and loudly. The surgery was conducted at a stand-alone surgical center. When the surgeon conducted the parathyroidectomy, he removed the patient's thyroid. The plaintiff contends she suffered an injured laryngeal...

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