Friday, February 5, 2010

Expert's Testimony Leads to New trial in Connecticut Medical Malpractice Case.

(AC 29314 was officially released by the Connecticut Appellate Court on January 19th, 2010. In this medical malpractice case brought against a respected Fairfield County orthopedic surgeon, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant, David Kramer, MD. That is to say that the Plaintiff--the one who sued---lost their case and recovered no money for the doctor's alleged malpractice.

At trial, the Defendant presented testimony from an expert witness, Todd Albert, MD, who testified that Dr Kramer had not deviated from the requisite standard of care. Doctor Albert went on, however, to opine that in not ordering certain additional tests, Dr. Kramer was on solid footing:

"I am with residents, fellows,
and medical students all the time. So, we are
ordering a lot of tests on everything so they have the
opportunity to read them. And you could say, oh, that’s
wasteful, but that is part of being at a teaching institution.
One. It is for teaching purposes as much as anything,
for they have one more chance to look at just
one more—they have another dot in their exposure.
‘‘The second reason is much different than in this
part of the country and this state. I live in the worst
malpractice community in the world. And people—and
we practice a lot of defensive medicine. It’s true. It’s
unfortunate, but it’s true. And so we order way more
tests. You hear about the cost of medicine going up.
Weare the epicenter of it because we have more doctors
leaving because they can’t get insurance and things like
that. So, we order way more tests than are necessary
to protect ourselves. And that’s just a fact. And so we
get acclimated to practicing like that."

At that point, the Plaintiff's lawyer moved for a mistrial based upon Dr. Albert's prejudicial remarks. The trial court refused to do that and the Plaintiff, after losing the case, took an appeal.

The Appellate Court ruled that Dr. Albert's remarks as cited above were in fact unduly prejusicial and ordered a new trial.

The entire text of the Court's opinion can be read here.

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