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Estate of Baba v. Kadooka

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii

October 18, 2013

THE ESTATE OF CHARLOTTE ANN BABA, DECEASED, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CRAIG E. KADOOKA, M.D., Defendant-Appellee, and DOE DEFENDANTS 1-20, Defendants

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT (CIVIL NO. 09-1-0378)

Charles H. Hurd and Lane Y. Takahashi for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Jeffrey S. Portnoy Marion L. Reyes-Burke Cheryl A. Kinoshita (Cades Schutte) for Defendant-Appellee.

By: Foley, Presiding J., Fujise and Reifurth, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff-Appellant The Estate of Charlotte Ann Baba (Estate) appeals from the "Order Granting Defendant Craig E. Kadooka, M.D.'s Motion For Summary Judgment Filed On June 28, 2011" entered February 29, 2012 and the "Judgment" in favor of Defendant-Appellee Craig E. Kadooka, M.D. (Dr. Kadooka) entered April 2, 2012 in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit[1] (circuit court).

On appeal, the Estate contends the circuit court erred when it found the six-year limitations period under Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 657-7.3 (Supp. 2012) (statute of repose) expired and was not tolled, and granted summary judgment for Dr. Kadooka .[2]

I. BACKGROUND

On March 21, 2001, Charlotte Ann Baba (Ms. Baba) saw Dr. Kadooka for a pre-operation medical clearance. An electrocardiogram (EKG) was performed on Ms. Baba's heart (March 21, 2001 EKG) and the computer reading indicated there was "sinus rhythm, leftward axis, contour abnormality consistent with inferior infarct, age unknown." Dr. Kadooka crossed out the computer reading and wrote "WNL" (within normal limits). In the medical records for the March 21, 2001 visit, Dr. Kadooka wrote: "Comparison to Prior EKGs: Same."

Ms. Baba continued to visit Dr. Kadooka for routine check-ups until September 20, 2002. On December 11, 2002, Ms. Baba died of a heart-attack. Two autopsies were performed on Ms. Baba, one on December 13, 2002 and another on January 9, 2003. Both autopsies concluded Ms. Baba's death was heart-related. Dr. Kadooka reviewed one or both reports but does not recall the date of his review.

In a letter dated October 28, 2004, Robert J. Segal, M.D., a medical expert for the Estate, advised the Estate to have physicians with relevant expertise review the quality of care Ms. Baba received.

On December 9, 2004, the Estate filed a claim with the Medical Claims Conciliation Panel (MCCP). This claim was brought against five of Ms. Baba's doctors, including Dr. Kadooka, for "(1) undiagnosed hypothyroidism, (2) failure to refer to a thyroid specialist, (3) polypharmacy, and (4) failure of informed consent." On December 29, 2005, the MCCP ruled against the Estate. The Estate then consulted additional medical experts.

By October 27, 2007, one of the Estate's new medical experts, Adrian Schnall, M.D. (Dr. Schnall), informed the Estate that Dr. Kadooka misdiagnosed the March 21, 2001 EKG and deviated from the standard of care in his treatment of Ms. Baba thereafter (Dr. Schnall opinion).

On March 24, 2008, Appellant filed a second claim with the MCCP based on Dr. Kadooka's March 21, 2001 misdiagnosis. The MCCP dismissed the claim a year later, ...


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