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Hooper v. Yampa Valley Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 17, 2019

DENNIS RUSSELL HOOPER, Plaintiff,
v.
YAMPA VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER, and LAILA WILBER POWERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          NINA Y. WANG MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the court on two pending motions:

(1) Defendants Yampa Valley Medical Center and Dr. Laila Powers's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed April 5, 2019, [#36]; and
(2) Plaintiff Dennis Hooper's Motion for Court Appointed Expert Witness (the “Motion to Appoint Expert”), filed May 3, 2019, [#43].

         The court considers the Motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and the Order of Reference for all purposes dated October 26, 2018, [#15]. The court concludes that oral argument would not materially assist in the resolution of this matter. Accordingly, upon review of the Motions, related briefing, the record, and the applicable case law, the court GRANTS the Motion for Summary Judgment and DENIES the Motion to Appoint Expert.

         MATERIAL FACTS

         The court draws the following material facts from the record before the court. These material facts are undisputed.

         1. On or about February 8, 2016, Plaintiff Dennis Hooper (“Plaintiff” or “Mr. Hooper”), a citizen of Oregon who is paraplegic, presented to the emergency room of Yampa Valley Medical Center (“YVMC”) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, complaining of a “severely swollen upper right leg.” See [#1 at 5; #23-2 at 2, 4].

         2. Defendant Laila Powers (“Dr. Powers”) was the attending emergency room physician at YVMC and received Mr. Hooper upon his arrival. See [#1 at 5; #23-2 at 2, 4].

         3. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Powers was “not familiar with spinal cord injuries or associated paraplegia, ” and was not qualified to “examine and render medical treatment to a patient with known paraplegia.” [#23-2 at 2].

         4. Dr. Powers allegedly “ordered blood tests and an ultrasound to determine the cause of the swelling, but no x-rays were done”; Dr. Powers diagnosed Plaintiff's swelling as Deep Vein Thrombosis, and released Plaintiff that same day. See [#1 at 5; #23-2 at 4].

         5. Several days later, Plaintiff returned home to Portland, Oregon, but because the swelling in his leg persisted, he sought additional medical treatment in the emergency room at the Portland, Oregon Veteran's Administration hospital. See [#1 at 5; #23-2 at 4].

         6. Physicians at the Veteran's Administration hospital took x-rays of Plaintiff's right leg and determined that Mr. Hooper's “right femur had a shear fracture above the knee.” [#1 at 5].

         7. Mr. Hooper underwent surgery for the installation of “a stabilization rod and hardware” on or about February 15, 2016; Mr. Hooper underwent two additional surgeries “to partially remove some of the hardware[, ]” and subsequent tests determined that there was no Deep Vein Thrombosis present. See [id.].

         8. On July 23, 2018, Plaintiff initiated the instant action by filing his pro se Complaint in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, asserting a claim for medical malpractice against YVMC and Dr. Powers (collectively, “Defendants”). See generally [#1].[1]

         9. On November 9, 2018, the Clerk of the Court docketed Plaintiff's Certificate of Review, signed and dated November 2, 2018, wherein Mr. Hooper certified that he “consulted two orthopedic surgeons who have expertise in the relevant area of medicine pertaining to [his] complaint”; that the two orthopedic surgeons reviewed all materials relevant to Plaintiff's allegations of ...


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