A jury trial in the case of an Arkansas City woman who sued South Central Kansas Medical Center in 2015 for allegedly exposing her to HIV during surgery has been moved to early 2020 as both parties continue to file motions.

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Shirley Fulk alleges that she was exposed to HIV while undergoing a hysterectomy at the hospital in 2013 because doctors used unsterilized tools on her that had been previously used on a patient with the virus. The lawsuit states hospital staff started Fulk on a two-drug post-exposure prophylactic regime after surgery, but that only one drug was administered because the other one was reportedly unavailable at SCKMC.

Fulk’s lawsuit alleges medical malpractice, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff is seeking more than $2 million in damages and a jury trial.

Matthew Sorochty and Anthony Singer, lawyers for SCKMC, filed three motions for summary judgment in Cowley County District Court on May 9, saying Fulk has not established that the hospital deviated from the standard of care; that she can’t demonstrate injury or exposure to HIV necessary to sustain a claim for emotional damages; and she lacks causation testimony to establish injury as a result of failure to prescribe prophylactic medication.

Scott Sanders and Katy Tompkins, two of Fulk’s lawyers, filed responses on May 30 asking the court to deny all three summary judgements. They said the plaintiff provided testimony from experts showing the SCKMC fell below the applicable standard of care; that Fulk sustained physical injuries from the unsterilized tools and from the post-exposure drugs; and that the hospital didn’t show its failure to administer Fulk the second medication.

SCKMC’s lawyers filed a request for a protective order June 12 against Fulk, saying the plaintiff has sent 70 requests for admission. In a civil action, in a request for admission, one party requests that another party admit or deny the truth of a statement under oath. SCKMC’s filing said that many of Fulk’s requests are legally improper or attempt to support claims that were not raised in earlier stages of the case. The defendant’s lawyers said in the filing that attempts to resolve the issues with Fulk’s lawyers were unsuccessful. The plaintiff’s response, filed June 19, said that the defendant failed to carry the burden to show cause for granting a protective order.

A jury trial has been rescheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 28, 2020.

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