The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position during pre-trial litigation. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a medical malpractice case present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)
THE ISSUE OF NEGLIGENCE CAN ONLY BE RESOLVED BY EXPERT TESTIMONY IN THIS CASE
Based on the allegations of the complaint, plaintiffs contend that the twins died because of the alleged professional negligence of the hospital. Generally speaking, actions for professional negligence center on an allegation that the professional breached the applicable standard of care. Proving what the applicable standard of care is, under most circumstances, requires testimony of a properly qualified expert. In Jambazian v. Borden, (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 836, 844, the court stated:
The standard of skill, knowledge and care prevailing in a medical community is ordinarily a matter within the knowledge of experts. Whether the standard of care in the community has been breached presents the basic issue in a malpractice action and can only be proved by opinion testimony unless the medical question is within the common knowledge of lay persons.
In Evans v. Ohanesian (1974) 39 Cal.App.3d 121, at 128, the court set forth the standards to be met when one offers the testimony of a medical expert:
To qualify a witness as a medical expert, it must be shown that the witness (1) has the required professional knowledge, learning, and skill of the subject under inquiry sufficient to qualify him to speak with authority on that subject; and (2) is familiar with the standard required…under similar circumstances…
Under the standard established in Evans, defendant UMH’s expert, Sandy Singer, RN, clearly qualifies as an expert on the standard of care applicable to labor and delivery nurses practicing in facilities such as UMH. (See Part 5 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.