Earlier this month, a state supreme court issued an opinion in a medical malpractice case, preventing a plaintiff’s case from moving forward based on the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the state’s medical expert requirement in medical malpractice lawsuits. In the case, Easterling v. Kendall, the court did not allow or consider the plaintiff’s medical expert’s testimony because it was not properly disclosed during pre-trial discovery.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a young girl who suffered a fall at a local YMCA. When emergency personnel arrived, she was vomiting, had numbness in her left arm, and suffered from a severe headache. She was taken to the hospital, where the defendant doctor determined that the girl had hit her head and that she had suffered a concussion. He provided her with anti-nausea medication and sent her home.
The next day, the girl was re-admitted to the hospital. She complained of a severe headache and uncontrollable twitching. The radiologist on duty performed an MRI and discovered that the girl had actually suffered from a dissection of the right internal carotid artery, rather than a concussion. The attending physician determined that the girl had suffered a stroke in the past six hours. She was transferred to a more specialized hospital, where she remained in the hospital for almost a month. The girl, through her parents, sued the treating physician, arguing that had the physician properly diagnosed the girl with a dissection of the right internal carotid artery in the first place, she would not have suffered the permanent neurological damage she did.
At trial, the plaintiff attempted to present medical testimony through several “experts.” Specifically, the plaintiff had 37 treating physicians and one “standard of care” expert, who would testify that the care provided by the defendant fell below the generally accepted level of care in the medical profession. The defendant objected because the the plaintiff never once provided the defense with the names of any expert who would testify to causation, as is required under state law.
The court allowed the plaintiff leave to amend but ultimately did not consider the plaintiff’s expert testimony. Thus, when the defendant moved for a directed verdict, the court granted the motion because there was no expert testimony as to whether the defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The court also classified the plaintiff’s treating physicians as “non-retained” experts and did not allow their testimony to fill in the gaps. As a result, the girl will not be able to seek monetary compensation for the allegedly negligent care she received from the defendant doctor.
Have You Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, as in the case mentioned above, Maryland has a very strict set of rules regarding experts in medical malpractice cases. To learn more, and to ensure that you are adequately prepared for what lies ahead, contact one of the skilled and knowledgeable personal injury advocates at the Maryland and Washington D.C.-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. Call today at 410-654-3600 to set up your free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Court Upholds “Release of Liability” Form in Whitewater Rafting Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 18, 2016.
Maryland Court Allows Plaintiff to Recover Compensation After Accident with Police but Limits Damages Under Tort Claims Act, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 1, 2016.