WANDA F. DYKES, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF RONALD DYKES v. THE CITY OF ONEIDA ET AL. (Tenn. Ct. App. February 26, 2010)
In this action, Wanda F. Dykes ("the plaintiff") filed suit against the City of Oneida ("the defendant") for the alleged wrongful death of her husband, Ronald Dykes. Her claim is based upon her allegation that police officers employed by the defendant were negligent in not calling for medical help when they responded to a call and found Ronald Dykes asleep and unresponsive in his home. They left him as they found him without calling for medical assistance. Mr. Dykes was found the next morning dead of a heart attack in the same recliner where the officers found him.
The thrust of the complaint is that, had the officers summoned medical help, Mr. Dykes' heart attack and resulting death could have been prevented. The defendant moved for summary judgment asserting, among other things, that the plaintiff cannot prove her theory of causation. While the motion was pending, the trial court, on four separate occasions, continued the hearing with respect to it, in order to give the plaintiff an opportunity to find and produce an expert to make out her case. When the motion was finally heard, the record contained the affidavit of a medical doctor stating that the failure of the officers to seek medical treatment for Mr. Dykes "may have allowed his condition to worsen and cause his death." The record also contained the same doctor's deposition testimony wherein he testified that he could not say Mr. Dykes would have survived if he had received prompt medical attention. The trial court granted the defendant summary judgment. The plaintiff appeals. We vacate the trial court's grant of summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.
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