Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Competency of Medical Expert To Testify In a Specific Area Addressed

In the case Phillips v. Gilbert, July Term 2016 No. 02819 (C.P. Phila. Co. June 17, 2019 Lauchman, J.), the trial court issued a Rule 1925 Opinion requesting the Superior Court to affirm the trial court’s decision that the Plaintiff’s expert in a dental malpractice case, who had never performed a dental implantation procedure during his lengthy career as a dental pathologist, lacked the training, experience, and knowledge necessary to testify regarding the standard of care applicable to the dental implant procedure that had been performed on the Plaintiff by the Defendant.   

The court noted that the Plaintiff’s expert was an oral and maxillofacial pathologist and not an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  

Given that the court barred the Plaintiff’s expert from testifying, the Plaintiff was found to be unable to establish a prima facie case of negligence.  As such, the trial court granted a compulsory non-suit in favor of the Defendant and denied the Plaintiff’s post-trial motion.   The Plaintiff filed an appeal which prompted this Rule 1925 Opinion by the court.  

In its Opinion, the trial court emphasized that oral and maxillofacial surgeons and pathologists undergo completely different training and performed completely different procedures on patients.  

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 16, 2019). 

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