Expert Witness Testimony in Maryland Medical Malpractice

When Maryland or Virginia residents are injured because of medical malpractice, the laws of the states allow them to file suit to recover against negligent medical professionals. This process can be incredibly complicated, and virtually all plaintiffs must rely on expert witnesses to make their case. Expert witnesses can testify to the court about how the injuries happened, what the defendant should or should not have done, the appropriate industry standards in a particular area, or the extent of the resulting injuries.

Recently, a Virginia appellate court considered a case involving a question of whether a plaintiff’s expert witness testimony survived a defendant’s motion to strike. After the plaintiff presents their evidence, the defendant may file a motion to strike the evidence from the record (or vice versa). If granted, it means that the court or jury cannot consider that evidence in their final decision.

In the recently decided case, the court began by describing the tragic facts. The patient, during her first pregnancy, had an incompetent cervix and had a cervical cerclage surgically placed. About a week after placement, the patient reported discomfort and pain in her abdomen, legs, and lower back to her doctor, who dismissed her concerns. Two days later, she called back about her pain and a new fever, and her doctor prescribed her some medicine via the phone, with no physical examination. Unfortunately, the patient continued to experience symptoms and called again, getting a different doctor who again prescribed her medicine via the phone, without a physical examination. Several hours later, the patient called back, and was finally directed to the hospital, where it was discovered that she had a severe infection. Her condition worsened in the hospital, and unfortunately, she passed away in the intensive care unit several days later.

The plaintiff, the patient’s personal representative and the administrator of her estate, filed suit against the two doctors, alleging that their negligence in treating the patient caused her death. The plaintiff presented two expert witnesses to support their case, but the defendants filed a motion to strike the evidence. Under existing case law, expert witness testimony in medical malpractice cases must present evidence about what the defendants should have done and what the probable outcome would have been if they had. The defendants attempted to argue that the testimony did not do this, but the court disagreed. The expert witnesses testifying for the plaintiffs gave adequate details about what the defendants should have done – conducted a physical exam when the patient complained of pain and fever—and what would have been the likely outcome—the patient’s infection being treated earlier, and the patient surviving. Because of this, the court ruled that the evidence was sufficient to survive the defendant’s motion.

Have You Suffered From Negligent Medical Care?

If you or someone you love has recently been subjected to negligent or inadequate medical care, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit. Call Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, today to discuss your case; if successful, you could receive compensations for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more, call us today at 800-654-1949. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.

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