Medical malpractice cases often hinge on the qualifications of expert witnesses and the interpretation of applicable standards of care. As such, the disqualification of a party’s expert witness can be devastating to their case. Recently, a New York court discussed expert qualifications in a medical malpractice case in which it ultimately determined that the plaintiffs’ expert was qualified to opine on the issue of whether the defendants violated the relevant standard of care. If you were hurt due to a negligently performed procedure, it is prudent to speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your possible claims.
Factual and Procedural History
It is alleged that the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging that an improperly performed blood draw at the defendants’ laboratory facility caused the plaintiff-wife to suffer severe and permanent. The complaint sounded in failure to obtain informed consent, medical malpractice, and loss of consortium. The defendants moved to strike the plaintiff’s expert, an anesthesiologist, from testifying on the grounds that he was not qualified as an expert witness on the issue of the standard of care for the blood draw procedure.
Demonstrating an Expert Is Qualified to Testify in Medical Malpractice Cases
In this case, the admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which requires that an expert possess knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education relevant to the case. Rule 702 serves as a gatekeeper to ensure that expert testimony is both reliable and pertinent to the matter at hand.
The burden of proving compliance with Rule 702 rests on the party presenting the expert testimony. The qualification of a witness as an expert is a pivotal question that must be addressed before assessing the admissibility of their opinions. The distinction between expert and lay witnesses lies in the ability of experts to provide opinions not solely grounded in their own perceptions.
Courts within the Second Circuit tend to interpret expert qualification requirements liberally when determining whether a witness can be considered an expert. Assertions about a witness lacking specific educational or experiential background usually impact the weight, not the admissibility, of their testimony.
In this case, the debate centered on whether the plaintiffs’ expert was qualified to provide insights on phlebotomy, particularly his ability to compare starting IVs to performing blood draws. Despite comparisons to another expert witness’s qualifications, the court found that the plaintiffs’ expert’s education, experience as an anesthesiologist, and familiarity with starting IVs demonstrated he had the necessary expertise to testify about these matters. In light of these considerations, the defendants’ motion to strike the plaintiffs’ expert from testifying was denied.
Consult a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney
Expert testimony is critical in medical malpractice cases, but only those individuals with the knowledge and experience needed to opine on relevant issues are qualified to testify as experts. If you were harmed due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you may be owed damages, and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at helping parties injured by incompetent healthcare providers seek justice for their losses, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.