Surgeons often perform multiple procedures per week, and in many instances, they cannot recall specific surgeries or what techniques or methods they employed during them. Thus, if a patient suffers harm during surgery, the doctor may not have independent knowledge of his or her conduct during the surgery, as required to demonstrate compliance with the standard of care. In some instances, though, a doctor accused of medical malpractice may rely on habit testimony to avoid liability, but such testimony is only permissible in limited circumstances. The admission of habit testimony was the topic of a recent New York ruling in a matter arising out of surgical malpractice. If you were harmed during a surgical procedure, you might be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney.
The Plaintiff’s Harm and Subsequent Claims
Allegedly, the defendant performed a LAP-Band procedure on the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered a perforated bowel during the procedure, which was not discovered until days later, when she was recovering in the hospital. She then underwent a second procedure to repair the perforation. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that his failure to prevent and identify the bowel perforation during the initial procedure constituted medical negligence. After discovery closed, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he did not depart from the applicable standard of care. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
Habit Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases
In support of his motion for summary judgment, the defendant submitted an affidavit from a medical expert that opined the defendant did not deviate from the standard. The court noted, however, that the expert’s opinion relied largely on improper evidence.