Hospital Ordered to Produce Data on Computer Diagnosis

Hospital Ordered to Produce Data on Computer Diagnosis

New York Law Journal

November 02, 2011

A state judge has ordered a Manhattan hospital to produce electronic screen shots of a computerized system used to assist doctors with the diagnosis of a man who later died. Michael Bowman was brought to the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center's emergency room in 2008 complaining of leg pain. Hospital records noted Mr. Bowman's leg complaint, but he was given a primary diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis and discharged. He later died of a bacterial infection in his leg, and his mother, Joan, filed suit.

Dr. Andreana Kwon, the resident who saw Mr. Bowman in the emergency room, said in a deposition that she was bound by the diagnostic system's "templates" for complaints that guide doctors' assessments and treatment plans.

Attorneys for Mr. Bowman's mother made a discovery request, asking for copies of the templates and screen shots for all stages of the data entry process. The hospital opposed the requests as "overbroad" and "oppressive."

But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger (See Profile) found the request was valid because the plaintiff was entitled to see how doctors arrived at their diagnosis. In Bowman v. St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, 150213-2009, she wrote that "counsel wishes to explore the path of screens and options which the choice of fever takes you down, as well as other screens and picks that appear on an alternate path one might have followed if a different, more appropriate chief complaint had been chosen. This request is not speculative. Rather, it is a request to see the choices and/or 'picks' and/or 'prompts' available to the treating physicians...when confronted with Mr. Bowman's presentation," she wrote
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