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Harmon v. Shore

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 23, 2015

WHITNEY LEIGH HARMON, ET AL.
v.
GREGG IAN SHORE, ET AL.

Session APRIL 8, 2015.

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 14641 Stella L. Hargrove, Judge.

Walter Woods Bussart, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellants, Whitney Leigh Harmon and Joshua David Harmon.

Michael F. Jameson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gregg Ian Shore.

Taylor Bradford Mayes, Nashville, Tennessee for the appellee, Maury Regional Hospital d/b/a Maury Regional Medical Center and d/b/a Maury Regional Surgical Center.

Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Arnold B. Goldin, J., and Brandon O. Gibson, J., joined.

OPINION

KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE.

I. Background

On April 30, 2012, Whitney Leigh Harmon was seen by Gregg Ian Shore, M.D. At that time, Dr. Shore was allegedly an employee of Maury Regional Hospital d/b/a Maury Regional Medical Center d/b/a Maury Surgical Center ("Maury Regional, " and together with Dr. Shore, "Appellees").[1] Mrs. Harmon presented with a swollen lymph node in the right side of her neck. She reported that there had been no trauma to the affected area, but that her symptoms had begun four months prior to her visit with Dr. Shore. After evaluating Mrs. Harmon, Dr. Shore diagnosed a cutaneous mass and scheduled a biopsy. Dr. Shore performed the excisional biopsy of Mrs. Harmon's post-auricular, right-sided, cutaneous mass at Maury Regional on May 7, 2012. Dr. Shore's notes indicate that he performed the entire procedure on Mrs. Harmon. Dr. Shore indicated that he removed as much of the mass as possible, although there seemed to be a bit remaining under some of the deep strap muscles of the neck. According to Dr. Shore's notes, the etiology of the mass was unclear.

At a follow-up visit with Dr. Shore on May 16, 2012, he noted that Mrs. Harmon had developed a post-operative infection with swelling, as well as lower lip numbness. His exam found the wound tender, and seroma fluid was aspirated at the site. Mrs. Harmon did not see Dr. Shore again after May 16, 2012. On June 27, 2012, when her condition had not substantially improved, Mrs. Harmon sought treatment from a Board-Certified Otolaryngologist, who noted that she had immediate right-lip paresis, and recurrent swelling. He noted that Mrs. Harmon was draining saliva from the neck.

On April 8, 2013, Mrs. Harmon and her husband, Joshua David Harmon (together with Mrs. Harmon, the "Harmons, " or "Appellants") filed a Health Care Liability complaint against the Appellees. Therein, the Harmons allege that, following treatment, the paralysis, swelling and drainage continued and that she is not able to eat or drink normally, nor is she able to smile. In addition, the Harmons allege that Mrs. Harmon's speech is impaired and that this condition appears to be permanent in nature. Accordingly, the Harmons claim that Dr. Shore and Maury Regional were negligent in Mrs. Harmon's care and treatment.

The Harmons' complaint further states that they have complied with the notice requirements contained in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121. As is relevant to the instant appeal, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121provides:

(a)(1) Any person, or that person's authorized agent, asserting a potential claim for health care liability shall give written notice of the potential claim to each health care provider that will be a named defendant at least sixty (60) days before the filing of a ...

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