McKee V. Laurion: Dr. David McKee Is Questioned By His Own Lawyer After Deposition By Defense Lawyer

Standard

The following text is copied from pages 1 and 2 and pages 88 through 108 of Exhibit AA-156 of David McKee, MD, V. Dennis K. Laurion.


State of Minnesota District Court

Sixth Judicial District

File # 69DU-CV-10-1706

David McKee, MD, Plaintiff, vs. Dennis K. Laurion, Defendant

Deposition of David C. McKee, MD, January 7, 2011

Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Danielson Court Reporting, LLC The following is the deposition of David C. McKee, MD, taken before Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, Notary Public, pursuant to Notice of Taking Deposition, at the law offices of Hanft Fride, PA, 1000 U. S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street, Duluth, Minnesota, commencing at approximately 11:43 a.m., January 7, 2011.

Appearances

 For the Plaintiff:

Marshall H. Tanick, Esq.

Mansfield, Tanick, and Cohen, P. A.

1700 U. S. Bank Plaza South

220 South Sixth Street

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55402-4511

612-339-4295

For the Defendant:

John D. Kelly, Esq.

Nathan N. LaCoursiere, Esq.

Hanft Fride, PA,

1000 U. S. Bank Place,

130 West Superior Street,

Duluth, Minnesota, 55802

218-722-4766

Proceedings

MARSHALL TANICK: Dr. McKee, I have a few questions to ask of you. And let me start by asking [ the reporter ] if you could mark that, please, as Exhibit 19. And I’ll give John a copy. I don’t have an extra copy, but I shall let him see it first.

JOHN KELLY: Let me just take a look at it. I’ve seen that, I think.

MARSHALL TANICK: Okay. Dr. McKee, I’m showing you Exhibit 19. Is that what you refer to as a curriculum vitae or resume?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes.

MARSHALL TANICK: And is that something that you use in your business practice, your current business practice?

DR DAVID MCKEE: It’s a current curriculum vitae. Yeah, it’s something that goes out here or there occasionally, yes.

MARSHALL TANICK: Okay. And you talked about your reputation. I’ll ask you how important it is to you. Presumably it is to most of us, but are there things that you try to do to foster or help or promote your reputation?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Well, I – – you know, I try to be the – – the best neurologist that I absolutely can, and that includes the, you know, nuts and bolts of getting a diagnosis right and embarking on the right treatment, as well as interacting professionally and compassionately with patients. I’m not sure how else to answer that question.

MARSHALL TANICK: You mentioned you were not a member of the American Medical Association, the state medical association, and the county medical association. I — I think there’s a – – many people think that if – – those are sort of organizations that doctors must be a member of, and we have the same thing in our profession, that kind of three-tiered bar association. But why aren’t you a member of those organizations?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Those are mainly political organizations, and – – that’s mine.

MARSHALL TANICK: (Indicating.)

DR DAVID MCKEE: Sorry. Those are primarily political organizations. They’re not – – they’re not so much involved with – – with day-to-day professional activity, and I don’t really see eye to eye politically with a lot of the views of the AMA, and I have less concern about the state medical society. But as I mentioned before – – and the county medical society is almost just a social organization. But – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Well – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: – – membership in one pretty much implies membership in all three.

MARSHALL TANICK: Those organizations aren’t – – are they not – – they’re not reflective of one’s medical skills or ability?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Oh, no, not at all. Anybody – – any – – any physician can join them. It’s – –

MARSHALL TANICK: All right. I want to ask you a few questions relating to this particular case. Mr. Kelly asked you about the – – your entrance into Kenneth Laurion’s room after you found out he was in a ward room. Do you have a standard, habitual practice of what you say to people when you enter the room, if they’re comatose and not confused? I mean, is there something you generally say?

DR DAVID MCKEE: If they’re not comatose?

MARSHALL TANICK: If they’re not comatose or confused.

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes, it’s not some canned speech or anything – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Right.

DR DAVID MCKEE: – – but – – but, as I mentioned before, you know – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, do you introduce yourself in a certain way?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I always introduce myself – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you – – and how – –

REPORTER: Just a minute. You’re both – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Just a second. Do you introduce yourself in a certain way? Do you say, “I’m Dr. McKee”?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yeah.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you say, “I’m Dr. David McKee”? Is there a certain standard practice you have?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yeah. I always say I’m – – “Hello, I’m Dr. McKee, and I’m the neurologist, ” or “I’m the neurologist that Dr. Gilbertson asked to come and see you.”

MARSHALL TANICK: All right. Do you have any reason to believe you did not follow that practice with respect to Mr. Laurion?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Likewise, is your – – what is your practice with respect to knocking on the door or – – or indicating you’re about to enter before you enter a room? A hospital room?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Well, I – – I think I already described that, but I – – you know, I always knock on the door if the door is open, the door frame, or the window next to the door.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you have any reason to believe you did not do that with respect to Mr. Laurion?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: In his Web postings and his various other comments, Mr. Laurion asserts that you said words to the effect that Mr. Laurion’s father was talking about therapy he had undergone, and you said words to the effect – – well, he quotes you. He quotes you as saying, “Therapy,” ques – – “Therapist,” question mark. “You don’t need therapy,” unquote. You read that. Right? You’re aware he said that about you?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I read that he said that about me.

MARSHALL TANICK: Did you say that?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Absolutely not. That isn’t even the way I speak, and – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, did you say something else to – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: – – or equivalent or similar or resembling that?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No. I just – – I just do not do that. It’s not the – – it’s not the way I speak. It’s just – – no, I did not say that.

MARSHALL TANICK: Did you say anything – – do you remember saying anything relative to therapy or therapists for – – with respect to Mr. Laurion?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Generally speaking, do you have a – – how would you characterize your relationship with the – – with nurses with whom you’ve worked or had occasion to interact with through the years?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Well, acknowledging that – – that often times what a person thinks other people think about him isn’t the same as what is they really do think about them, I think – – I think it’s excellent.

MARSHALL TANICK: Have you ever had any complaints to any hospital authorities or any other people in charge of your work or overseeing your work from any other nurses or hospital personnel about you or your behavior or conduct or treatment?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you – – how much work did you do, or how much work have you done with or at St. Mary’s Medical Center over the years?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Very little. The – – as I mentioned an hour or more ago, St. Mary’s at some point, I think the late ’90s or maybe the early – – early 2000’s, closed its staff, and it basically became next to impossible for physicians who weren’t employed – – were not employed by SMDC to do work there. So I haven’t had a patient at St. Mary’s Medical Center probably for at least ten years. Prior to that, I would guess that I maybe averaged one inpatient consultation or admission a year.

MARSHALL TANICK: Are you saying since approximately the year 2000 or 2001 you didn’t see any patients at St. Mary’s.

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you know any of the nurses there on a personal or social or professional basis?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you know whether any of them are familiar with you or your practice?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Have you ever heard any rumbling about – – about you having a bad reputation amongst the nurses at St. Mary’s or hospital personnel?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Mr. Laurion says that he – – and he wrote in his Web site, you heard his testimony, that he ran into a friend nurse at the – – I almost said it again – – at the Post Office, the Lakeside Post Office, shortly after your treatment of his father, and she made the comment, according to Mr. Laurion, that you are a – – “Dr. McKee is a tool,” unquote. You’ve heard that before or read that – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes.

MARSHALL TANICK: – – in connection with this case. Right?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yeah, I have.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you have any idea what that – – have you ever heard that phrase used in any context, like somebody’s a tool?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I never heard it used about me. I – – I guess I’ve heard it. I – – I’ve never quite known exactly what it means, but I’ve always thought that it meant something to the effect of, you know, this is a person that, you know, is sort of a lick-ass who will do whatever is politically expedient. But I don’t know that that’s the correct definition or not. That’s a definition that doesn’t fit me very well.

MARSHALL TANICK: Have you ever heard that phrase applied to you – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: – – as a tool, other than in this case?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Except here.

MARSHALL TANICK: Do you have any – – do you have any reason to believe or think about how – – who or how that statement could have been made to Mr. Laurion, or by whom?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I don’t have any idea as far as – – you know, like I said, I, it should be clear, had next to no contact with the nursing staff at St. Mary’s, especially in the last ten years. And I did make a – – I don’t – – I don’t know most of the physicians at St. Mary’s very well. I – – I have some interactions with some of their rehab people and the neurosurgeons that have come and gone over the years and, to a lesser degree, some of the neurologists that have been there. Beyond that, the physicians that I know that practice at St. Mary’s are people that I’ve met socially rather than professionally. I did make a call yesterday evening to a general surgeon that I know socially, who has been a long-term employee there for, I guess, the better part of the last twenty years and gave the description of this nurse to him the way Dennis Laurion gave it to us yesterday – – that is, something a little taller than average height, maybe 5-5, 5-6, trim build, 50s, dark blonde or light brunette hair, graying – – and described Mr. Laurion’s former work at St. Mary’s and described the interaction in the way in which he encountered nurses and mentioned that he had described this nurse working at least part of the time on the night shift when he worked and asked this surgeon, Dr. Steven Eyer, if he knew anybody that fit that description, and he said he didn’t.

MARSHALL TANICK: Okay. In – – in your encounter with Mr. Laurion, Kenneth Laurion – – the defendant, Dennis Laurion, stated in his Web site postings and his other communications – – some of the other communications that you made a reference while you were in the room there to the percentage of hemorrhagic stroke patients who die in the ICU, who didn’t get out of the ICU. And Mr. Laurion testified that you said 44 percent. You heard that his wife said that you said some percentage or – – but doesn’t remember the specific number, and that’s maybe what his mother heard too. Let me ask you. Did you say anything about a percentage or a statistic or a number or a figure relating to the likelihood of stroke patients – – hemorrhagic stroke patients expiring?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Did that come up at all during the encounter?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, how can you know that if you see – – how many patients do you see a year on a typical – – let’s just say a week?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Well, for slightly different reasons, I did a little back-of-the-envelope calculation yesterday, and I – – I see, in an average day, perhaps fifteen or sixteen patients, of which, on average, maybe a dozen of those will be new to me. And I would say that, on average, they would have two – – maybe the average would be a little less than two – – family members in tow. Of course, some of them are there by themselves. So, you know, five days a week, maybe a dozen new people with family members.

MARSHALL TANICK: It would be several hundred a year, I take it, is that what you’re saying?

DT: No. It would be thousands a year.

MARSHALL TANICK: It would be several hundred a month?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes.

MARSHALL TANICK: A thousand. How many of those – – roughly, how many hemorrhagic stroke patients would you see in a typical week, month, or year, if you can help us with that?

DR DAVID MCKEE: New patients as opposed to what I’m seeing in a follow-up?

MARSHALL TANICK: Right.

DR DAVID MCKEE: I would say that – – that it would probably be a few a month.

MARSHALL TANICK: So over the course of a typical year, you may see a few dozen new hemorrhagic stroke patients?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yeah. I would say maybe – – yes, you know, something like that.

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, how can you remember, then, what you didn’t say to Mr. Laurion and his family about the percentage of hemorrhagic stroke patients who die?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Because I’d never seen that statistic before, and it’s not – – it’s not – – it’s not a common-knowledge statistic among neurologists. You know, we found it by searching for it, and the source is Wikipedia. Now, whoever wrote the Wikipedia article presumably had some source from which he got it, but it isn’t something that comes out of – – you know, it’s not a major piece of – – of general data that neurologists have on hand, and I would guess that if you took 100 neurologists and said, “Okay, what’s the percentage of patients with hemorrhagic stokes that die within the first month,” my guess is none of them would come up with 44 percent. People would say, “Gee, maybe it’s 20 percent, maybe 30.” Somebody might guess 40 or more. But this isn’t a – – this is not a common – – commonly quotes or known number – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Was – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: – – to the best of my knowledge.

MARSHALL TANICK: Was it a number that you were aware of or had in your mind on April 19th, when you treated Dr. – – Mr. Laurion?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Absolutely not.

MARSHALL TANICK: If someone had asked you that day, April 19, 2010, “Doctor, how many hemorrhagic stroke patients die within a month” – – “within 30 days,” what would you have said?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I would have said it’s probably somewhere between a third and half, probably closer to a third.

MARSHALL TANICK: Okay.

DR DAVID MCKEE: And I – – I’m sure I wouldn’t have been any more precise than that, because I wouldn’t have been able to. I still don’t know if that – – you know, where that 44% comes from, what – – what study or database that may be.

MARSHALL TANICK: Didn’t come from you?

DR DAVID MCKEE: It didn’t come from me.

MARSHALL TANICK: All right.

DR DAVID MCKEE: It was attributed to me with quotation marks, but it definitely did not come from me.

MARSHALL TANICK: Now, Mr. – – you were asked about patients or family members, people who encounter doctors like you, having criticisms from time to time of doctors. Right?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Right.

MARSHALL TANICK: Okay. It – – and you realize, of course, that Mr. Laurion, in his postings and other communications, was quite critical of what you did?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes.

MARSHALL TANICK: Is – – are you – – are you bringing – – or did you write the – – or did you cause me to write the cease – – the letter I wrote to Mr. Laurion because you didn’t like his criticism?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No, not per se. What I didn’t like is that he – – he made very inaccurate factual statements about what happened and about what I said. His right to criticize me is, of course, you know very appropriate, and – – and I certainly understand that – – you know, believe me, I know that you can’t be in any profession for months and certainly not years, without somebody subjectively being dissatisfied, and – – and certainly somebody, you know, like that has a right to – – to express their dissatisfaction. But that’s not what happened here. These were – – his criticisms and what he wrote was blatantly inaccurate. I’m not talking about his subjective opinion. I don’t care if Mr. Laurion likes or dislikes me, but – – what he wrote was just utterly inaccurate.

MARSHALL TANICK: Mr. Laurion wrote about this incident involving his father to some fourteen, I think it was, different organizations. Some were licensed – – one is the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice – – and other peer groups, and some were licensing-related authorities, some weren’t?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Physician – – physician groups in town.

MARSHALL TANICK: Right. Did you get any – – were you aware of which – – what conclusions or – – were reached by any of these different organizations as to this matter?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Well, you know, it was a real shotgun approach. He wrote to anybody that had anything to do with medicine anywhere, and – – and though some of those could have harmful, because the people that would receive the letters are peers or involved with health care in a way that matters to me. They – – a lot of these – – in fact, probably the majority of them – – don’t have any kind of authority, that the letters were – – you know, they were not directed to appropriate agencies and organizations. But, you know, I’ve got their – – their responses from Dr. Peterson, who thought the complaint was intrinsically so preposterous, that – – that it didn’t require investigation.

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, how do you know – – excuse me. How do you know what he thought?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Because that’s what he told me.

MARSHALL TANICK: Okay

DR DAVID MCKEE: And yesterday Dennis Laurion was trying to come up with a name of a woman at St. Luke’s with whom he discussed these issues, and – – and so forth, and I suspect from his description of – – of the person and her role that he was trying to come up with Kathy Johnson’s name. She’s the director of quality assurance there. And – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Did you have some feedback from her about this matter?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I did. It was informal, but I – – because Mr. Kelly wanted access to – – to, you know, every place it seemed that I have had or have medical privileges and wanted to be able to delve into my professional – –

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, let me just ask you this. Okay. I’m sorry to cut you off, but what feedback did you receive from Ms. Johnson?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Well, I had to present to her his – – the form whereby she could release information to him, and she was – – she had a very good memory of this whole thing, and she expressed to me her sympathies for being dragged through the mud over all of this, and – – and felt that the complaint was – – was absurd. And obviously that’s her subjective opinion and all, but she thought it was outrageous and very offensive.

MARSHALL TANICK: How about – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: I’ve also had the feedback ultimately from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

MARSHALL TANICK: That was my next question. What feedback did you get from them?

DR DAVID MCKEE: That they dismissed the two Laurion complaints, which are really quite obviously one, with a second go-around with it.

MARSHALL TANICK: How was that communicated to you?

DR DAVID MCKEE: By letter.

MARSHALL TANICK: that the charges were dismissed or not acted upon?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Yes, dismissed.

MARSHALL TANICK: What – – did – – was this lawsuit that you brought against Mr. Laurion inspired by, prompted by, motivated by his filing any complaints or charges, formal or informal, against you with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice? Is that the reason you – –

DR DAVID MCKEE: No.

MARSHALL TANICK: – – brought this suit?

DR DAVID MCKEE: No, of course not.

MARSHALL TANICK: Well, why did you bring this suit?

DR DAVID MCKEE: Because of – – of the damage my reputation that occurred from, you know, his – – initially, the Web postings. I mean, that was really the thing that got this whole thing going, and of course, as we went along, discovered all these other place that he had fired off letters and sent copies of things and so forth. But all of this was commenced as a result of this – – this Web nonsense.

MARSHALL TANICK: All right. I don’t have anything else.

JOHN KELLY: Doctor, can we agree that there are only five people who know what went on in that hospital room on April 19, 2010, those five being you, Dennis, Bonnie, Lois, and Kenneth Laurion?

DR DAVID MCKEE: I think we can agree on that.

JOHN KELLY: That’s all I have. Thank you. Appreciate it.

MARSHALL TANICK: We’ll read and sign.


Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

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