In many instances in which a patient suffers harm due to incompetent medical care, more than one care provider will contribute to the patient’s harm. Thus, in many medical malpractice cases, a patient may need to obtain information from a provider not only regarding the care provided by the provider but also regarding the sufficiency of the care provided by other practitioners as well. Thus, if a provider refuses to answer certain questions in a deposition, the patient may not be able to obtain the information needed to prove liability. As such, in some cases, a patient may be able to compel a provider to attend a deposition and answer a proposed line of questioning, as shown in a recent New York case. If you were harmed by negligent medical care, it is in your best interest to consult a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options for seeking the evidence you need to prove your medical provider caused your harm.
Factual Background of the Case
Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against numerous defendants, including a hospital, a radiology practice, and an individual radiologist, arising out of harm caused by the defendant radiologist’s failure to properly diagnose the plaintiff’s heart issues. During the course of discovery, the plaintiff’s attorney deposed the defendant radiologist; however, the defendant radiologist refused to answer certain questions regarding the plaintiff’s treatment she underwent after she was treated by the defendants. Thus, the plaintiff’s attorney filed a motion to compel the defendant radiologist’s continued deposition. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.
Seeking Testimony Relative to the Plaintiff’s Claims
On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling and ordered the defendant radiologist to submit to his continued deposition. Specifically, the court stated that under New York law, the defendant radiologist could be questioned as an expert in the radiology practice area regarding the plaintiff’s subsequent medical records, her subsequent CT scans and reports, and the findings set forth in a report following a subsequent angiogram. Further, the court stated that such questions did not solely relate to the alleged negligence of other defendant physicians, but were relevant to the issue of whether the defendants’ collective negligence in failing to diagnose and treat the plaintiff proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. As such, the appellate court found that the trial court erred in denying the plaintiff’s motion to compel the defendant to answer questions regarding the plaintiff’s treatment at two other hospitals and order the defendant radiologist to submit to a further deposition.