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Mendoza v. Inspira Medical Center Vineland

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 30, 2017

GLADYS MENDOZA, personal representative of Elias Mendoza, Plaintiff,
v.
INSPIRA MEDICAL CENTER VINELAND, et al., Defendants.

          LAW OFFICES OF JAMES R. RADMORE, P.C. By: James R. Radmore, Esq. Counsel for Plaintiff.

          GROSSMAN, HEAVEY & HALPIN, P.C. By: Elizabeth A. Wilson, Esq. Counsel for Defendant Inspira Medical Centers, Inc.

          DRAKE LAW FIRM, P.C. By: Steven F. Drake, Esq. Counsel for Defendant's Naeem Amin, M.D. and Kidney and Hypertension Specialists, P.A.

          STAHL & DeLAURENTIS, P.C. By: David P. Brigham, Esq. Counsel for Defendants Andrew Zinn, M.D. and Cardiovascular Associates of Delaware Valley, P.A.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         This is a diversity medical malpractice suit.[1] Plaintiff asserts that her decedent, Elias Mendoza, was negligently treated by various doctors and medical providers. Presently before the Court are two motions for summary judgment; one filed by Defendants Dr. Amin and Kidney and Hypertension Specialists, P.A., and another filed by Defendant Inspira Medical Centers, Inc.[2] Both Motions assert that Plaintiff has failed to comply with the substantive requirements of New Jersey's Affidavit of Merit Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41. For the reasons set forth below, both motions will be granted.

         I.

         The Amended Complaint alleges the following facts[3]:

9. On or about March 10, 2014, decedent-plaintiff presented himself to the Emergency Room at Inspira Medical Center Vineland for shortness of breath and was subsequently admitted into the Intensive Care Unit.
10. While plaintiff [sic] was a patient of the defendants, Inspira Medical Center Vineland, South Jersey Health Care and Inspira Health Network, Inc., decedent underwent a cardiology consultation performed by defendant, Andrew Zinn, M.D. and a nephrology consultation performed by defendant, Naeem M. Amin, M.D.
11. Decedent was negligently treated, resulting in brain damage, inability to ambulate, as well as damage to his heart, so as to cause plaintiff [sic] to suffer severe and debilitating pain and to further suffer complications, injuries and conditions which have caused her [sic] a great deal of physical and emotional pain which ultimately resulted in his death on February 23, 2015.

(Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 9-11)

         Plaintiff's case appears to be principally based on a note entered in the decedent's discharge summary (Pl's Ex. B), which states in relevant part, “HOSPITAL COURSE: Over the course of the patient's hospital stay, he tolerated BiPAP and required dialysis. Unfortunately he was unable to tolerate full treatments and continued to build up fluid. The patient unfortunately had some difficulty receiving dialysis in our intensive care unit due to staffing limitations, which continued to exacerbate his continued difficulties with his fluid overload state.”

         Defendant Naeem Amin, M.D. is board certified in Internal Medicine with a subspecialty in nephrology. As to Dr. Amin and his practice group, Defendant Kidney and Hypertension Specialists, P.A., Plaintiff's theory of her case appears to be that Dr. Amin's “failure to properly monitor [the decedent], provide the necessary dialysis on a timely basis and attend to [decedent's] hospital course” “resulted in damage to decedent's heart and ultimately to his death.” (Opposition Brief, Docket #19, p. 5)

         Similarly, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Inspira Medical Centers' “[in]adequate staffing . . . prevented a patient in need of dialysis from receiving needed treatment [which] is a deviation from the standard of care.” (Opposition Brief, Docket #20, p. 2)

         Plaintiff has provided one Affidavit of Merit, executed by Bruce D. Charash, M.D. (Docket Entry #10) His affidavit states, in relevant part, “I am a licensed, board certified Cardiologist and Internist, and my practice has been substantially devoted to this specialty for greater than five years.” (Id. at ΒΆ 1) Dr. Charash opines that all of the Defendants' ...


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