Articles Posted in Experts

In this medical malpractice lawsuit, the state supreme court of Utah affirmed the decision of the court of appeals, which affirmed the judgment of the district court excluding the plaintiff’s proximate cause expert’s testimony. The state high court held that the district court did not err.

Richard and Deanne Taylor’s daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed at a young age with a neurological disorder that caused her to suffer from spasticity. To control this effect, Ashley received the medication Baclofen through a catheter and an implanted Baclofen pump that delivered it into the thecal sac around her spinal cord.

On April 17, 2013, Ashley woke up suffering from severe shaking in her legs. She saw a physician at the University of Utah Hospital where she received an oral dose of Baclofen. The physician did several tests, which gave Ashley more oral Baclofen and instructed her to return the next day. Although the following day’s tests did not show an obvious sign of a problem, the doctor thought there might still be a problem with the pump. During that time, Ashley kept vomiting and had difficulty keeping down oral doses of Baclofen. After further consultation, the doctor recommended surgery to replace the pump and the catheter connected to it. The surgery was performed the following day. Ashley’s sister later agreed with the statement that Ashley was “back to herself” a day after the surgery.
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In March 2014, plaintiff Dawn Verci filed a negligence lawsuit against defendants Michael High and International Union of Operating Engineers, Local No. 649. She claimed that as a result of the defendants’ negligence, she was injured and underwent medical treatment that cost more than $1 million.

The majority of her medical charges were from Dr. Richard Kube of the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute and the Prairie Surgicenter. The reasonable value of these medical services provided by Dr. Kube was a major issue of contention.

In January 2019, the trial court entered an order (1) prohibiting defendants from cross-examining Kube for his associated medical entities regarding their own cash advertised pricing at trial and (2) allowing defendants’ billing expert, Rebecca Reier, to testify at trial regarding her opinions on the reasonable value of Kube’s medical services.
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A Maryland Appellate Court has held that summary judgment for a medical negligence defendant was proper. In this case, the plaintiff chose not to comply with the state requirement by filing a certificate of merit from a health care provider when the provider has a background and specialty in medicine that is in the same or related specialty as the treating defendant physician. In this case, that medical specialty was in transplant surgeon.

Remonia Chaplin underwent a kidney transplant that was performed by Dr. Silke Niederhaus, a board-certified kidney transplant surgeon. She later sued the University of Maryland Medical System Corp., alleging that the surgeon, Dr. Niederhaus, had breached the standard of care by using an unsuitable kidney in the transplant. In support of the complaint that was filed, Chaplin filed a certificate and report of Karen Paolini, a licensed nurse practitioner and certified transplant coordinator.

The trial judge granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that neither the certificate nor the report complied with the state law that required a certificate of merit by a health care provider in the same or similar medical specialty as the defendant doctor.
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Vincent Lowe brought this medical malpractice lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Mo., against Bryan J. Menges, D.O. and James D. Cassat, M.D. and their employers, Mercy Hospital East Communities (“Mercy Hospital”) and Mercy Clinic East Community (“Mercy Clinic”). In the lawsuit, they alleged that as a result of these defendants’ choosing not to timely diagnose and treat the condition known as mesenteric ischemia, which caused inadequate blood supply to Lowe’s intestines, a substantial portion of his lower bowel had to be removed leaving him with short bowel syndrome, which will require extensive ongoing medical care.

At the jury trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Lowe for past and future economic and noneconomic damages totaling $14,245,545. The jury made comparative fault assessments of 65% to Dr. Menges and Mercy Hospitals, 25% to Dr. Cassat and Mercy Clinic and 10% to Lowe for a net verdict of $12,820,990.

Mercy took an appeal challenging the admission of the life care plan that was prepared and submitted into evidence by Lowe’s expert.
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A Texas Appellate Court has held that a trial court had not erred in denying a defendant’s motion to dismiss based on a plaintiff expert physician’s failure to perform the procedure at issue in the case within the last 20 years.

Alice Waggoner sued physician Dr. Carl Jones, maintaining that he breached the standard of care by performing an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) before running another noninvasive test to determine whether an ERCP was necessary.

Under Texas law, the plaintiff served the defendant with an expert report by Dr. Perry Hookman, a board-certified physician in both internal medicine and gastroenterology.
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After a fall, John Mitchell, 53, went to a Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine specialist complaining of back pain, numbness and weakness. The doctor prescribed steroids and a muscle relaxer and asked Mitchell to return in one week.

At the next appointment, Mitchell reported increased numbness and weakness in his legs. The doctor referred Mitchell to a Kaiser Permanente emergency room for an MRI of his lumbar spine. The MRI showed mild degenerative changes. Mitchell was referred to a neurologist.

Before the neurology appointment, he met with a Kaiser specialist who ordered a STAT MRI of the thoracic spine. The first available appointment was four days later.
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Ferid Okic’s common bile duct was damaged during a routine gallbladder removal surgery. His injury went undiagnosed for over a month, requiring corrective surgery and significantly delaying Okic’s recovery. Okic sued his surgeon, Dr. Athanasios Diniotias, alleging that both the surgeon negligently performed the surgery and that he was negligent in providing postoperative care.

Most significantly, Okic did not retain an expert qualified to testify regarding the applicable standard of care for performing gallbladder removal surgery.

Just before the beginning of the trial, the trial judge granted several of the defendant’s — Dr. Diniotias’ — motions in limine, including ones barring him from presenting any evidence related to the performance of the surgery because of the absence of expert testimony on this issue. In any event, the jury found against Okic and in favor of Dr. Diniotias and on Okic’s remaining theory of negligence.
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A Texas state appellate court has held that a plaintiff expert’s report was adequate in a case brought by the parents whose child died after receiving inadequate treatment for a respiratory infection. Luz Del Carmen Rodriguez and Victor Velazquez took their infant son to the office of a pediatrician, Dr. Satbir Chhina.

A nurse practitioner diagnosed the baby as having respiratory syncytial virus and prescribed Tylenol and nebulizer treatments. Dr. Chhina later signed off on the treatment plan that was presented to him by the nurse practitioner. However, the next day, the baby became unresponsive. He was transferred to a hospital, where he died of cardio-pulmonary arrest. An autopsy revealed that the child’s death resulted from sepsis originating from a bacterial infection.

Rodriguez and Velazquez sued Dr. Chhina and the nurse practitioner, alleging medical negligence. The plaintiffs offered the expert report of Dr. Armando Correa, a board-certified pediatrician who specialized in pediatric infectious disease.
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After Ernestine Wilson’s 23-year-old son Brian Curry died from a saddle pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that blocked the large pulmonary artery straddling his lungs), she sued emergency room physician Dr. Eric Moon and Chicago’s St. Bernard Hospital. She claimed that the doctor was negligent in choosing not to diagnose and treat her son’s condition and that the hospital was also liable because of its principal-agent relationship with the doctor. Dr. Moon denied negligence and the hospital moved for summary judgment on the ground that the doctor was an independent contractor.

Wilson reached a settlement with the hospital, but at the trial six weeks later, the doctor called the hospital’s retained expert in pulmonary medicine. The witness testified that Brian’s signs and symptoms did not suggest pulmonary embolism and that what subsequently occurred was a sudden and unsurvivable medical condition regardless of the doctor’s efforts.

Dr. Moon generally adopted the hospital’s expert opinions and thus was not required to submit a second 213(f)(3) disclosure containing all of the same information of an earlier disclosure once the hospital settled with Wilson for the plaintiff.
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In August 2013, Alexis Dameron underwent surgery at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center where she claimed to have sustained injuries due to medical negligence. She filed a medical malpractice case against Mercy and various employees at the hospital on Nov. 6, 2014.

During discovery, she disclosed that Dr. David Preston would be testifying as an expert witness, presenting evidence drawn from an electromyogram and EMG study yet to be performed. The EMG was to take place on June 1, 2017, but Dr. Preston’s report was not included in the record.

Dameron moved to designate Dr. Preston a “nontestifying expert consultant,” stating that Dr. Preston’s designation as a testifying expert witness had been “inadvertent.”
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