Mills v. Pate

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Mills v. Pate by Mind Map: Mills v. Pate

1. Parties

1.1. Joyceline Mills

1.2. John Pate, MD

2. What Happened?

2.1. Patient filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against physician who performed liposuction and thigh lift on patient, alleging claims for negligence, lack of informed consent, and breach of express warranty. The 346th District Court, El Paso County, Peter J. Peca, granted physician summary judgment (225 S.W.3d 277 -2006). Patient appealed.

3. Medical Procedural History

3.1. December 2, 1999: Liposuction: surgery abdomen, hips, flanks, thighs; Ms. Mills 6 after surgery, Ms. Mills complains of irregularities- specifically rolls under the R breast and sagging skin on her thighs bilaterally.

3.2. January 16, 2001: Bilateral thigh lift, Liposuction (corrective, lower abdominal area and bilateral hip flank). Patient was charged for the bilateral thigh lift, but not the corrective liposuction.

3.3. August 30, 2001: Ms. Mill's last appointment with Dr. Pate. Dr. Pate noted that for the results that Ms. Mills was looking to achieve in the abdominal area, she should have had a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) in addition to the liposuction of her hips, flanks, and thighs.

3.4. September 2001: Ms. Mills goes to obtain a second opinion from another plastic surgeon, Dr. Miller. Her specific complaints include rippling in her abdomen and unevenness in her thighs. Dr. Miller disclosed it would most likely take a minimum of three surgeries to obtain the results that she was looking for. Dr. Miller stated that he could perform the surgery. He also offered her another option; which was to see a body contouring specialist in Houston, TX; Dr. Gilliland.

3.5. Ms. Mills opted to see Dr. Gilliland, who informed her that Dr. Pate's care had been inadequate. Dr. Gilliland performed an abdominoplasty and body lift; which also consisted of a thigh lift.

4. Procedural History

4.1. Ms. Mills notifies Dr. Pate of her intent to sue: January 23, 2002

4.2. Ms. Mills files suit: January 23, 2003; trial court finds for Dr. Pate. Grants motion for summary judgment and a "no evidence" summary judgment, 364th District Court; El Paso, TX

4.3. Ms. Mills appeals, Appellate hearing, Court of Appeals, El Paso, TX- June 2006, the appellate court upho

5. Issue:

5.1. Ms. Mills alleged that Dr. Pate was negligent by failing to properly warn and obtain her informed consent with respect to the probable outcome of the liposuction procedures and the need for future treatment and by causing and failing to correct the abdominal irregularities. Ms. Mills later amended her petition to include a breach of express warranty claim

6. The Rule of Law

6.1. The Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act

7. Analysis/Application

7.1. Plaintiff: alleged that the doctor failed to improperly warn her and obtain her informed consent with respect to the outcome of liposuction procedure and the need for further treatment. In the appeal, the plaintiff also added breach of express warranty noting that the doctor did not achieve the promised results.

7.2. Defendant: alleged that the informed consent provided to Ms. Mills was comprehensive and included the fact that outcomes are variable from patient to patient and that effects after the surgery may include edema for several months after the procedure and dimpling of the skin

7.3. District Court, 364th District Court, El Paso, TX: granted summary judgement for Dr. Mill

7.4. Appellate Court, El Paso, TX: upheld summary judgment for the defendant re: informed consent, but overturned the original verdict, and found for the plaintiff re: express warranty

8. Conclusion

8.1. Doctors that make express warranty claims to a patient are liable for those claims and are held to the standard of the promised results

8.2. Dr. Pate did obtain Ms. Mill's informed consent

9. Importance

9.1. Where a physician promises particular results to a patient he is held to that standard

9.2. Informed consent documents must be thorough and objective. They must detail the benefits and risks of the procedure, as well as, the benefits and risks of not having the procedure. They must also list alternatives to the procedure. Finally, they must ensure that the patient understands the document.

10. Impact

10.1. A change to the practice of informed consent; specifically making informed consent documents more detailed/thorough

10.2. Limits in express warranties being offered to patients, guarantee of individual results. This is not acceptable standard of care in current medical practice.

10.3. Two cases that have cited Mills v. Pate

10.3.1. Gomez vs. Pasadena Healthcare Management, GOMEZ v. PASADENA HEALTH | 246 S.W.3d 306 (2008) | sw3d3061529 | Leagle.com

10.3.2. Key v. Viera, KEY v. VIERA | No. 01-07-00587-CV. | 20090212291 | Leagle.com