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Medical Professionals Reference (MPR)Who Can Testify About a Physician’s Standard of Care?

The expert testimony addressing the standard of care determines whether or not many medical malpractice cases succeed or fail.

In a recent medical malpractice case, the qualifications of the plaintiff’s expert witness played a pivotal role in the outcome. The court dismissed the case, emphasizing that expert testimony must meet specific criteria related to the healthcare provider’s specialization and the details of the medical procedure in question.

HCN Medical Memo
This case serves as a cautionary tale regarding the profound impact that expert witnesses can have on medical malpractice lawsuits. Not only must the expert witness be competent in the specific area of medicine relevant to the case, but they must also be able to clearly articulate the standard of care and how it was breached. The credibility and qualifications of the expert witness could very well tip the scales of justice.

Key Points
  • Expert testimony is essential in establishing both the standard of care and causation in medical malpractice cases.
  • The qualifications of the expert witness are crucial; the expert must have specialized knowledge relevant to the case.
  • Courts have a stringent standard for admitting expert testimony, even extending to whether the expert has experience with specific medical devices or procedures.

In some jurisdictions, you need an affidavit from a medical expert even to file the paperwork for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Additional Points
  • Nurse practitioners may testify in medical malpractice cases but not on the standard of care concerning a physician’s specialty.
  • The case also led to the dismissal of claims against the agency that employed the nurse practitioner who performed the PEG tube reinsertion.

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