Las Vegas Sun

March 25, 2019

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Family’s brain-damage case against Sunrise Hospital is reinstated

A Las Vegas mother is getting a chance to prove that Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center concealed records in her medical malpractice suit to prove her daughter suffered extensive brain damage during surgery.

Tracy Winn maintains the hospital deliberately withheld documents that prevented her from filing her suit within the one-year time limit of discovering her daughter's damage.

Sedona Winn, the 13-year-old daughter of Tracy and Robert Winn, underwent heart surgery in December 2006. Sedona's father was told she suffered an "extensive brain injury," which has led to permanent impairment.

The mother, as the guardian, maintains there was malpractice by the hospital, the doctor and medical staff involved in the surgery. District Judge Doug Smith granted a pre-trial summary judgment in favor of the hospital and the doctors on grounds the mother had failed to bring suit within one year after discovering the alleged malpractice.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Ron Parraguirre, said the doctors "were unable to provide an explanation for how this tragic result arose from what was considered to be a relatively minor surgery."

The hospital supplied 182 pages of the girl's medical records to permit the parents to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. But the full set of the records were not supplied until Feb. 12, 2008.

In reinstating the suit, the Supreme Court said the parents must prove Sunrise intentionally withheld the records and that these records contained information that would have delayed the parents in proceeding with the legal action within the one-year limitation.

Sunrise acknowledges the parents did not receive the complete set of records until February 2008 but vigorously objects to the suggestion it concealed these records.

While the suit against the hospital can go forward, the court ruled the pretrial judgment in favor of the doctor and medical staff should be upheld.

The case now returns to Judge Smith for further hearings in the concealment issue.

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