Thursday, January 8, 2015

Family Doctor Barred From Offering Opinion Regarding Treatment Rendered by Spine Specialist

A plaintiff's attempt to have a family doctor testify as to the necessity of the plaintiff's laser spinal surgeries following a motor vehicle accident was rejected in a recent decision by Judge Karen Shreeves-Johns of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in the case of Lee v. Bernard, PICS Case No. 14-1985 (C.P. Phila. Co. Nov. 19, 2014 Shreeves-John).

In so ruling the court rejected the plaintiff's argument that "all medical doctors are qualified to testify concerning medical subjects and it is for the jury to determine the weight to be given to the expert testimony."

Judge Shreeves-Johns wrote in her Opinion that. "Simply put, an expert must demonstrate some knowledge of the specific subject matter upon which he promises to express an opinion."

The Court went on with the following statement:  "The reasonableness and necessity of a patient receiving highly complex spinal surgery is a matter of specialized knowledge which is not typically embodied within the knowledge or education of a general family practitioner and therefore was not within the ken of plaintiffs' expert...."

The judge also noted that the doctor who performed the surgeries was certainly a specialist in the field and the plaintiffs could have called him to testify about the need for the surgeries.

Copies of Lee v. Bernard, PICS No. 14-1985, are available by calling the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service of the Pennsylvania Law Weekly at 800-276-PICS to order at a small fee. Source:  Article by

Gina Passarella entitled "Family Doc Can't Testify to Need for Specialized Surgery," from The Legal Intelligencer (Dec. 15, 2014).

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