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Pierce v. Anderson

Supreme Court of North Dakota

June 5, 2018

Troy Pierce, MD, and the Bone & Joint Center, P.C., Petitioners
v.
The Honorable Sonna M. Anderson, Judge of the District Court, South Central Judicial District, and Robert A. Carvell, Respondents

         Petition for Supervisory Writ.

          Briana L. Rummel (argued) and Brenda L. Blazer (appeared), Bismarck, ND, for petitioners.

          Robert A. Carvell (argued), self-represented, Bismarck, ND, respondent.

          OPINION

          Jensen, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Dr. Troy Pierce and the Bone & Joint Center ("Petitioners") petition for a supervisory writ following the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss. We grant the Petitioners' request for a supervisory writ and direct the district court to enter a judgment dismissing Robert Carvell's complaint against the Petitioners.

         I

         [¶ 2] On May 3, 2015, Robert Carvell was injured in a vehicle accident. Carvell arrived at the Emergency Department at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, where the staff took note of Carvell's injuries. Carvell claims the Petitioners were negligent in failing to treat his fractured and dislocated right middle or third finger. The radiology report from May 3, 2015, provides Carvell's injuries included:

Dislocation of the third metacarpophalangeal [MCP] joint with type II fracture.
Fracture dislocation at the base of the fourth metacarpal.
Dislocation of the fifth carpometacarpal joint.

         At that time, an emergency room physician reduced the dislocation of Carvell's right ring finger and applied a splint to Carvell's right hand, wrist, and forearm.

         [¶ 3] The following day, Carvell consented to a surgical procedure to be completed at the Bone & Joint Center by Dr. Pierce, which would include "[r]ight elbow open reduction and internal fixation and right long and ring finger open reduction and internal fixation." The diagnosis listed was: "right elbow, long and ring finger fractures." Another document completed by a nurse practitioner provides that Carvell "will undergo open reduction and internal fixation of elbow and open reduction and internal fixation of his third, fourth and fifth metacarpal fractures." Dr. Pierce's surgical report provides:

PREOPERATIVE DIAGNOSES:
Right unstable olecranon process fracture (code 813.04).
Right 4th and 5th metacarpal fracture dislocations (code 815.00).
POSTOPERATIVE DIAGNOSES:
Right unstable olecranon process fracture (code 813.04).
Right 4th and 5th metacarpal fracture dislocations (code 815.00).
Right ulnar nerve compression in the cubital tunnel (code 354.2).
PROCEDURES PERFORMED:
Right olecranon process fracture, open reduction and internal fixation (code 24685).
Right ulnar nerve decompression with anterior subcutaneous transposition (code 64718).
Right 4th metacarpal base fracture dislocation, closed reduction and percutaneous ...

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