Must 'experts' in malpractice cases have same specialties?
FIFTEEN-DAY-OLD AUSTIN WOODARD WAS ADMITTED TO THE PEDIATRIC pediatric /pe·di·at·ric/ (pe?de-at´rik) pertaining to the health of children.
Of or relating to pediatrics. INTENSIVE CARE UNIT (PICU PICU Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
PICU Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
PICU Priority Interrupt Control Unit
PICU Programmable Interface Control Unit (FMS-800 component) ) AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (body, education) University of Michigan - A large cosmopolitan university in the Midwest USA. Over 50000 students are enrolled at the University of Michigan's three campuses. The students come from 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. HOSPITAL FOR A RESPIRATORY PROBLEM. During his stay at the hospital, he was under the care of Dr. Joseph Custer, the hospital's Director of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. When the infant was moved to the general hospital ward, physicians in that ward discovered that both of the infant's legs were fractured. The infant's parents sued Dr. Custer and the hospital, alleging that the fractures were the result of negligent medical procedures, namely, the improper placement of an arterial line arterial line
An intra-arterial catheter. in the femoral artery femoral artery
1. An artery with origin at the continuation of the external iliac artery, with branches to the pudendal, epigastric, circumflex iliac arteries, the deep artery of the thigh, and the descending genicular artery, and of the infant's left leg. The plaintiffs' proposed expert witness, who signed the plaintiffs' affidavit of merit, was board-certified in pediatrics, but did not have any certificates of special qualifications. Dr. Custer, board-certified in pediatrics, had certificates of special qualifications in pediatric critical care medicine and neonatal-perinatal medicine. Before discovery, the trial court denied the defendants' motion for summary disposition, concluding that the plaintiffs' attorney had a "reasonable belief" under Michigan law that the plaintiffs' proposed expert was qualified to testify against the defendant physician and, thus, that the plaintiffs' affidavit of merit was sufficient. After discovery, the trial court granted the defendants' motion to strike the plaintiffs' expert witness on the basis that he was not actually qualified to testify against the defendant, Dr. Custer. The trial court dismissed the plaintiffs' suit with prejudice, concluding that the plaintiffs could not reach a jury without the proper expert testimony Testimony about a scientific, technical, or professional issue given by a person qualified to testify because of familiarity with the subject or special training in the field. . Editor's Note: Dismissal with prejudice dismissal with prejudice n. see dismissal. precludes a party from initiating another suit. The Court of Appeal of Michigan affirmed the trial court's ruling that, under Michigan law, the plaintiffs' proposed expert witness was not qualified to testify against Dr. Custer. One judge on the Court of Appeals dissented on this issue, but took the position that he would have reversed the trial court's dismissal on the basis that expert testimony was unnecessary under the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur [Latin, The thing speaks for itself.] A rebuttable presumption or inference that the defendant was negligent, which arises upon proof that the instrumentality or condition causing the injury was in the defendant's exclusive control and that the accident was one that ordinarily does not (RIL RIL Recombinant Inbred Lines
RIL Reduced Impact Logging
RIL Radio Interface Layer
RIL Reliance Industries Limited, India
RIL Research Information Letter
RIL Repairable Items List
RIL Runway Identification Lights ). The Court of Appeals held that under RIL an inference of negligence might be drawn from the fact that the infant was admitted to the PICU with two healthy legs and discharged from the PICU with two fractured legs. One judge dissented on this issue. The defendants sought leave to appeal the Court & Appeals decision that the doctrine of RIL applied. The plaintiffs sought leave to cross-appeal the Court of Appeal's decision that their proposed expert witness was not qualified to testify against Dr. Custer.
THE SUPREME COURT OF MICHIGAN AFFIRMED THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. The court held, inter alia [Latin, Among other things.] A phrase used in Pleading to designate that a particular statute set out therein is only a part of the statute that is relevant to the facts of the lawsuit and not the entire statute. , that although specialties and board certificates must match, not all specialties and board certificates must match. The court observed that Michigan law states that "a person shall not give expert testimony on the appropriate standard of practice or care unless...."(Emphasis added.) Put another way, the court addressed the necessary qualifications of an expert witness to testify regarding the "appropriated standard of practice or care," not regarding an inappropriate or irrelevant standard of medical practice or care. The court reasoned that because an expert witness is not required to testify regarding an inappropriate or irrelevant standard of medical practice or care, Michigan law should not be interpreted to require such witness to specialize in specialties and possess board certificates that are not relevant to the applicable standard of medical care about which the witness is to testify. Further, the court observed that the law refers to "the same specialty" and "that specialty," and that it does not refer to "the same specialties" and "those specialties." The court concluded that the law requires the matching of a singular specialty, not multiple specialties. The court concluded that Dr. Custer could have either filed an interlocutory appeal or could have waited until a jury rendered a verdict adverse to him before filing an application for leave to appeal. Either way, he could have preserved the issue for appeal by objecting to the plaintiffs' expert's testimony on the basis that the expert was not qualified because he did not specialize in the relevant specialty. Then, the Dr. Custer could have made it clear what he perceived the relevant specialty to be and why.
IN ADDITION TO TWO CONCURRING OPINIONS, THREE OF THE SEVEN JUDGES ON THE COURT FILED A DISSENTING OPINION dissenting opinion n. (See: dissent) . The dissenting judges concluded that the majority opinion, by allowing "theory preclusion" in a medical malpractice Improper, unskilled, or negligent treatment of a patient by a physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care professional. case, allowed the trial judge, rather than the jury, to determine the factual question of whether the procedure performed by Dr. Custer did, in fact, implicate im·pli·cate
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.
2. one or more of the doctor's specialty areas. The dissenting opinion concluded that the question was not a relevance question, no matter how adamant the majority was in trying to characterize it as one. Simply put, the dissenting opinion focused on the fact that under the majority opinion the trial court was given carte blanche CARTE BLANCHE. The signature of an individual or more, on a while. paper, with a sufficient space left above it to write a note or other writing.
2. In the course of business, it not unfrequently occurs that for the sake of convenience, signatures in blank are to invade the province of the jury. Woodard v. Custer, No. 124994 (Mich. 07/29/2006) N.W.2d--MI
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