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Expert Witness Testimony Excluded from Evidence on the Issue of Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Surgical ProcedureMedical malpractice claims require testimony from expert witnesses in order to articulate the relevant standard of care for the medical professional who allegedly committed the negligent act. Not all expert testimony is admissible in New York medical malpractice cases. In fact, the United States Supreme Court articulated several factors that expert testimony must meet in order to be admissible. A November 16, 2017 decision, Norman v. All About Women PA, et al., case number K14C-12-003, reviewed an expert’s testimony on the standard of care in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The plaintiff went to a clinic and received a diagnostic laparoscopy procedure, and during the operation, her bladder was punctured. She also alleged that the doctor closed her up without fixing the wound, requiring additional surgeries and hospital visits. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit and offered the expert testimony of a doctor to define the relevant standard of care broadly accepted within the medical community.

New York law has two primary elements in medical malpractice lawsuits. The plaintiff must establish that the actions of the medical professional deviated from the accepted standard of care and that such a deviation caused an injury to the plaintiff.

The defendant contested the plaintiff’s expert witness by filing a motion in limine to exclude her expert’s testimony. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s expert failed to meet her burden because there was no evidence that the expert’s opinion was based on information upon which experts in his field reasonably relied. The defendant requested that the court exclude expert testimony relating to the write-off and payment of medical expenses and apologies after the operation. Additionally, they asked the court to exclude evidence linked to pregnancy and unsupported injuries.

The court granted all of these initial requests, except for the motion to exclude the plaintiff’s expert testimony relating to the standard of care. The defendant argued that it should be excluded because the expert allegedly did not provide any explanation as to how he reached his standard of care opinions.

In this decision, the court sided with the defendant and agreed that the expert’s testimony as it related to the standard of care should be excluded. The court held that the plaintiff’s expert witness’ sole supporting contention was that, based on his own knowledge, this type of injury would not have occurred without negligence, and therefore it did not allude to an analysis of the facts in this case consistent with other experts in the field.

The Syracuse attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano have decades of experience representing people who have suffered from surgical malpractice. If you would like to discuss your case or schedule a consultation, call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form for an appointment with our attorneys.

More Blog Posts:

Report Shows History of Medical Malpractice at Syracuse VA Medical Center, Syracuse Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 5, 2017

Appeals Court Expounds on Expert Net Opinion Rule in Medical Malpractice Decision, Syracuse Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2017

Photo Credit: skeeze [CC0 Creative Commons], via Pixabay

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