Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Superior Court Revisits Standard for Proper Expert Medical Testimony ("Non-Precedential Decision)

In its recent "Non-Precedential" decision in the medical malpractice case of Hickman v. Shor-Conroy, No. 2336 EDA 2014 (Pa. Super. Jan. 23, 2015 Donohue, Wecht, Jenkins, J.)(mem. op.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court applied the current status of the law on the admissibility of expert opinions and the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and affirmed a lower court's entry of summary judgment.

Although "Non-precedential," the case could serve to assist in your research on the current status of these two legal concepts.

In Hickman, the Plaintiff attempted to rely upon the contents of her treating providers office notes as serving as the Plaintiff's expert reports.  The court noted that even "[a]ssuming arguendo that the records constitute expert reports, none of the records state, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty" that the Plaintiff's injuries were the result of the medical malpractice alleged.

While the court noted that the Plaintiff need not utilize "magic words," the use of terms of causation such as "most likely" or "in all likelihood" were not sufficient.

As stated the court also rejected the Plaintiff's res ipsa loquitur argument and, in doing so, concisely stated the current status of Pennsylvania law in that regard (referring to Section 328D of the Restatement (Second) of Torts).

Anyone wishing to review this "Non-precedential" Opinion of the Superior Court in Hickman, may click this LINK.


Source:  "Medical Reports Don't Count as Expert Reports, Panel Says," by P.J. D'Annunzio The Legal Intelligencer (Jan. 27, 2015).

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