Appellate Opinion Research Project
By: LaVetra Speight
ASCM 627 Legal Aspects of Contracting
University of Maryland University College
Due: November 9, 2014
In this country, it is estimated that more than 1 billion venipunctures or blood drawings are performed by phlebotomists each year. According to Ogden-Grable (2005), phlebotomy errors can cause serious harm to patients; up to and including death, either directly or indirectly. Therefore it is vital to establish, implement, and practice quality control which can help in preventing the number of errors made in this area of clinical service. I conducted my research on the Maryland state appellate case between the Board of Trustees, Community College of Baltimore County and Patient First Corporation. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed the case on August 29, 2014 which involved a student phlebotomist’s negligence during a routine blood drawing of a six year old child. Being that I am a mother of two young children, this case really hit home for me because every year I take them for annual check-ups, vaccinations, and blood work. It really opened my eyes to see some of the possible risks that can arise during a simple blood drawing. Our Pediatrician often utilizes students from local colleges and universities to assist her with patients both independently or with limited supervision. The healthcare field requires hands-on experience, but it should be carefully monitored to prevent accidents. The care of children should never be put in jeopardy due to negligence or lack of properly trained healthcare workers. The appellate case between Patient First Corporation (“Patient First”) and the Board of Trustees of the Community College of Baltimore County (“CCBC”) involved an agreement in which Patient First allowed CCBC venipuncture students to work at Patient First centers in the Baltimore area in order to gain “supervised clinical experience.” The agreement between the parties was drafted by CCBC and contained a section entitled “Indemnification,” which stated that CCBC would indemnify Patient First for any liability arising from negligent acts of CCBC students. The pertinent part of the Agreement is as follows:
7.1 [CCBC] will defend, indemnify, and hold [Patient First] harmless from any and all losses, claims, liabilities, damages, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) which arise out of the negligent acts or omissions of [CCBC], its agents, employees, or Venipuncture Students in connection with this Agreement. . . . The obligations of [CCBC] under this subparagraph 7.1 are subject to and limited by its liability under Section 5-301 et [s]eq. [a]nd 5-519, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended.
It is further understood and agreed that [CCBC] is not waiving or relinquishing in any manner any defenses that may be available to [CCBC] including, but not limited to, government sovereign
immunity or breach of contract or otherwise, nor is [CCBC]
relinquishing any defenses that may become available to it at any time during the term of this Agreement, but that [CCBC] is free to assert all defenses that may be available to it at law or in equity.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, indemnify is to protect someone by promising to pay for the cost of possible future damage, loss or injury. The terms of the agreement held CCBC financially responsible for any negligent actions of their venipuncture students and required them to indemnify or reimburse Patient First for any expenses incurred as a result of claims, damages, losses, and or injury caused by their students. Background
On January 13, 2007, a CCBC student phlebotomist working at a Patient First clinic accidently stuck herself with a needle and then proceeded to withdraw blood from a six year old child using the same contaminated needle exposing the child to unknown possible diseases. The student...
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