NANCY YOUNGBLOOD EX REL. ESTATE OF DANIEL VAUGHN
RIVER PARK HOSPITAL, LLC
17, 2017 Session
from the Circuit Court for Warren County No. 559 Larry B.
11, 2015, Daniel Vaughn, an 86-year-old patient, was
recovering from surgery in the intensive care unit of the
defendant River Park Hospital. A nurse brought Mr. Vaughn
some coffee, after which she left the room. He spilled the
coffee on himself, suffering burns to his body. Nancy
Youngblood, the executor of Mr. Vaughn's estate, brought
this action alleging that, given his condition, he
"should not have been left alone to manage an extremely
hot beverage." River Park, arguing that her claim is a
health care liability action subject to the Tennessee Health
Care Liability Act (THCLA), Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-101
et seq. (2012 & Supp. 2017), moved to dismiss
based on plaintiffs failure to provide pre-suit notice and a
certificate of good faith as required by the THCLA. Plaintiff
argued that her claim does not fall within the definition of
a "health care liability action." The trial court
disagreed and dismissed her action. We hold that the trial
court correctly held her claim to be a health care liability
complaint. Accordingly, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Robert Toy II, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant,
Nancy Youngblood, Executrix of the Estate of Daniel Vaughn.
Essary and Lee T. Nutini, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
Appellee, River Park Hospital, LLC, dba River Park Hospital.
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which J. Steven Stafford, PJ., W.S., and Brandon O.
Gibson, J., joined.
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE
Vaughn fell and broke his hip on July 10, 2015. He went to
River Park and was scheduled for immediate surgery. It is not
clear from the complaint whether the surgery took place on
July 10 or July 11, but on the later date, a doctor informed
his family that the surgery went well. That same day, the
nurse brought him a cup of coffee in his intensive care unit.
The essence of plaintiff s claim, as quoted from the
complaint, is as follows:
Mr. Vaughn was an 86 year old man; who was in ICU following a
major surgery; was on pain medication; had visible tremors in
his hand; and had an 02 monitor on his index finger. Mr.
Vaughn should not have been left alone to manage an extremely
(Reformatted with paragraph numbering in original omitted.)
undisputed that plaintiff did not provide pre-suit notice to
River Park. Such notice is required of "any person . . .
asserting a claim for health care liability." Term. Code
Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(1). Furthermore, she did not file a
certificate of good faith with the complaint. Again, this is
a requirement "[i]n any health care liability action in
which expert testimony is required by § 29-26-115."
Term. Code Ann. § 29-26-122(a). Following a hearing, the
trial court dismissed plaintiffs action with prejudice,
succinctly stating that "the allegations of negligence .