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Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

Expert Absence Dooms Med Mal Claim

Thursday, October 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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Patient underwent shoulder surgery in January. By May the physical therapist reported he was doing well. Then a new therapist allegedly attempted a new procedure, resulting in new pain. MRI revealed ruptured suture (tendon to bone).  But surgical exploration found no rupture, but did find infection that was treated. Patient sued alleging care falling below the standard of care. Trial court granted summary judgment on grounds patient failed to offer expert witness support for his claim. In Brownfield v. Valley General Hosp., 2017 WL 4351519 (Wash. App. Oct. 2, 2017) the court affirmed. This was not a "common knowledge" situation. "Without medical expertise, Brownfield cannot establish either the standard of care or causation." Patient argued alternatively on appeal the claim ought to proceed on a failure of informed consent basis. But that claim was not pled. "A party who does not plead a cause of action or theory of recovery cannot finesse the issue by later inserting the theory into trial briefs and contending it was in the case all along."     

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