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Author of gender-affirming care ban accused of malpractice in woman’s 2018 death

By Rebecca Green, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Law
Lawmakers relied on Johnson's medical expertise during committee and floor debate on several health bills, including the gender-affirming care ban for transgender youth, which he authored. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Sen. Tyler Johnson (R-Leo) faces allegations of malpractice in the death of a 20-year-old woman. He won the seat vacated by long-time Senator Dennis Kruse in portions of Allen and DeKalb counties in 2022.

Johnson is a doctor with Professional Emergency Physicians which provides emergency room physicians for Parkview Health – a hospital system that runs 10 hospitals in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. During his first legislative session, he has authored bills targeting library materials and gender-affirming care for minors.

According to documents filed in Allen Superior Court last May, the family of Esparanza Umana sued Johnson and Parkview Health after the 20-year-old died in January 2018. She had gone to the emergency room with respiratory distress and signs of sepsis.

The state medical review panel determined Johnson violated the standard of care when he overloaded her system with four liters of fluid, aggravating her respiratory distress, and then discharging her.

Umana died of cardiac arrest 20 minutes later at a local pharmacy where she was filling a prescription.

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Lawmakers relied on Johnson’s medical expertise during committee and floor debate on several health bills, including the gender-affirming care ban for transgender youth, which he authored.

In his filed response to the lawsuit, Johnson denied the allegations.

Having been delayed numerous times, the case is set for a hearing next month.