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10/3/2018 » 10/5/2018
2018 Annual Meeting and CLE/CEU Presentation

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Educational Malpractice Claim Dismissed

Thursday, June 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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Medical resident in orthopedic program was dismissed based on unfavorable assessments of the resident's clinical performance. Resident claimed she was improperly dismissed because the program failed to live up to its end of the residency contracts or because of deliberate actions by two faculty members and the program director. The defendants asserted that the resident failed to advance because of her numerous, well-documented deficiencies as a surgical resident, and they contended that the decisions of the University faculty should not be second-guessed through a jury trial. In the resulting suit, resident contended in part the university was negligent in retaining her supervising physicians she felt were urging her termination. Trial court dismissed the claim.  Ruling was affirmed in Gurbani v. Johns Hopkins Health Systems Corp., 2018 WL 2474179 (Md. App. June 1, 2018). Finding the case context tantamount to an educational malpractice claim the court noted such claims have been unanimously rejected by other courts on public policy grounds. The broad "body of case law overwhelmingly favors judicial deference to academic decisions at all levels of education." Courts are not supposed to be learned in medicine and are not qualified to pass opinion as to the attainments of a student in medicine. The professional judgment employed in residency decision making should not support tort-based money damages claims. 


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