Appellate Court Affirms Decision That Expert Testimony is Required in Lawsuit In Which it Was Alleged Amputation Resulted From Fracture Caused by Negligent Transfer

A Minnesota Appellate Court has held that expert testimony was required to prove a plaintiff’s claim that the paramedic’s negligent transfer was the cause of a patient’s ankle injury and later resulted in a leg amputation.

Mary C. suffered from various health problems and was a left-leg amputee. After she developed respiratory problems, Mary called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, she was being moved from her wheelchair to a stretcher. While she was being moved, she suffered a fractured right ankle. This fracture led to unsuccessful ankle surgeries followed by infection and ultimately the amputation of her right leg.

Mary C. sued the ambulance service, alleging its paramedics were negligent in transferring her to the stretcher and caused her fall and ankle fracture, which ultimately led to the amputation of her right leg. The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that Mary had failed to serve the required affidavit of expert identification within the statutory time frame. The court granted defendant’s (the ambulance service) motion to dismiss.

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the dismissal order and noted that an exception to the expert’s testimony requirement exists wherein a negligent act was the type that is within a lay person’s general knowledge and experience. The court cited case law. The appellate court said expert testimony is necessary in all but the most obvious medical malpractice lawsuits.

The court in this case found that it cannot be said that the plaintiff’s ankle fracture “undoubtedly” caused the amputation. There was evidence in the record that other factors may have led to the plaintiff’s failure in surgeries and the requirement for amputation.

The court concluded that in light of this uncertainty, the trial court’s decision to dismiss had been improper because there was a lack of expert testimony.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence lawsuits, birth injury lawsuits and hospital negligence claims for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Morton Grove, Niles, Des Plaines, Bellwood, Maywood, Forest Park, Berwyn, Melrose Park, Franklin Park, Northlake, Harwood Heights, Chicago Ridge, Chicago Heights, Blue Island, Worth, Calumet City, Harvey, Orland Park and Itasca, Ill.

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