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141727 - Estate of Jilek v Stockson

Estate of Daniel D. Jilek, by Joy A. Jilek, Personal Representative,
Mark R. Granzotto
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals
(Washtenaw – Swartz, D.)
Carlin C. Stockson, M.D., and EPMG of Michigan,
Noreen L. Slank
Maple Urgent Care, d/b/a Maple Health Building, Trinity Health-Michigan, Catherine McAuley Health Care, Irwin M. Lutwin, Carpenter Health Care, d/b/a Carpenter Health Center, and Robert E. Anderson,
Charles N. Raimi


​On March 1, 2002, 48-year-old Daniel Jilek went to an urgent care center, where he was treated by Carlin Stockson, M.D., a board-certified family practice physician. In addition to complaining of persistent sinus pain, runny nose, earache, and cough, Jilek said that he had trouble breathing on exertion and that chest tightness was interfering with his ability to run. Stockson ordered a chest x-ray, which was normal. She diagnosed Jilek with sinusitis and bronchospasms, and gave him prescriptions for an antibiotic and Albuterol, a bronchodilator. The doctor discharged Jilek with instructions to follow up with an appointment in 10 days, or to go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately if he felt worse.

Five days later, Jilek collapsed during his workout at a fitness club. He was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. The autopsy results indicated that Jilek died of a blood clot that formed in one of the main arteries of his heart hours before his death.

Joy Jilek, as personal representative Daniel Jilek’s estate, sued Stockson and her employer, Emergency Physicians Medical Group of Michigan, P.C., for medical malpractice. The lawsuit alleged, among other things, that Stockson breached the standard of care when she failed to follow up on Jilek’s complaints of chest tightness. To prevail in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant physician violated the standard of care, causing an injury to the patient. In this case, the parties disputed throughout the trial whether the relevant standard of care was that of an emergency room specialist or a family practice physician, and experts relating to both specialties testified. The trial court eventually instructed the jury that the relevant standard of care was that of a board-certified family practice physician working in an urgent care center. The trial court also ruled that Jilek would not be allowed to admit into evidence any written policies, procedures or guidelines in place at the urgent care center or adopted by other health organizations. The jury returned a verdict of no cause of action.In a split published opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial on the ground that the relevant specialty was emergency medicine, not family practice medicine. The majority also held that practice guidelines issued by professional associations and the defendant urgent care should have been admitted as evidence. The dissenting Court of Appeals judge would have affirmed the trial court’s rulings. The defendants appeal.