EXPERT TESTIMONY IN MED-MAL: GREEN V. OWENSBORO MEDICAL HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. (COA 8/10/2007)

GREEN V. OWENSBORO MEDICAL HEALTH SYSTEM, INC.
TORTS:  MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE (EXPERT TESTIMONY)
2005-CA-001422
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL:  NICKELL PRESIDING; ABRAMSON, PAISLEY CONCUR
COUNTY: DAVIESS
DATE RENDERED: 8/10/2007

CA affirms entry of SJ for defendants in this medical negligence case.

Appellant fractured her finger and underwent surgery. All went well with her hand, but upon awaking appellant found her four front teeth loose, misaligned & bloody. She sued the surgery practice, the facility and the anesthesiologist. By interrogatory, the facility asked the name of any expert witness and whether appellant had obtained an expert opinion as to the applicable standard of care. With no response, it filed a motion to compel; an order compelling followed. She responded, but with no expert’s name. She was again directed to disclose by a date certain. She eventually named her regular treating dentist as her expert, but his testimony was to be limited to pre- and post-operative condition and his opinion that the condition was from trauma and not disease.

Defendants eventually sought SJ for failure to name an expert on the applicable standards of care. The TC denied, giving appellant 90 more days to produce an expert. No expert was produced and SJ was entered against appellant. She appealled, arguing abuse of discretion in that a jury could infer negligence on these facts.

CA holds that whether expert testimony is necessary is in the TC’s discretion and, as the CA does not believe the average layperson has sufficient medical knowledge about anesthesia procedures, no abuse of discretion is found.    

Digested by John Hamlett

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