New Trial Granted to Medical-Malpractice Plaintiff After Several Trial Errors Discovered

Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Supreme Court released an opinion granting a medical-malpractice plaintiff a new trial after the Court agreed with the plaintiff that there were several errors at trial that rendered the proceeding unfair.

naked-back-442698-m.jpgBack in June of 2006, the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital with complaints of back pain. It was recommended that she undergo cervical disk replacement surgery to remedy her damaged disks. The plaintiff consented and the surgery was scheduled for June 26. She was discharged two days after the surgery.

After being released and getting home, the woman noticed an extreme pain behind her eye. She called the hospital and was told to come back in. After a series of visits and tests, it was discovered that she was suffering from a stroke caused by a vertebral artery dissection.

The plaintiff suffered from a loss of motor skills as well as chronic, near-debilitating nerve pain. She later filed a medical malpractice suit against the operating doctors and the hospital where the surgery was performed.

At Trial the Woman’s Case is Decided Against Her
The court held a full trial eventually resulting in a jury verdict in favor of the defendant. However, the plaintiff appealed the judgment pointing to several alleged errors.

First, the plaintiff argued that the defendant was impermissibly allowed to admit certain documents into evidence when the defendant was cross-examining the plaintiff’s expert witness, who was a licensed emergency-room physician in Canada, but not in the United States.

The documents, which were emails and printout from websites, provided the a list of qualifications that are required to become a board-certified in the US as a emergency-medicine provider. The defendant used these qualifications to ask the expert if he possessed them, making him seem to be an unqualified expert in front of the jury.

On Appeal the Plaintiff Won a New Trial
The plaintiff appealed the lower court’s admission of the docuemtns into evidence, arguing that they had not been properly authenticated. Authentication is a requirement of all evidence admitted into trial. It requires that a piece of evidence is authenticated to be what the proponent of the evidence claims it to be.

For example, regarding the evidence admitted at the trial, the web pages and emails were never authenticated in any manner, meaning that there was no verification that the printout provided to the judge and jury had the exact content of the organization’s webpage.

This case took place in Rhode Island; however, all evidence in Maryland medical malpractice cases must also be authenticated and authentication rules are generally very similar from state to state. To learn more about evidence authentication and to have any other questions about medical malpractice cases answered call an experienced medical malpractice attorney today.

Have You Been Injured by a Physician’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured by a physician’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a medical malpractice action. However, as you can see from the discussion above, there are myriad procedural rules that must be complied with or a case can be lost. In some cases, a dismissed case cannot be refilled and the plaintiff forever loses their ability to recover from that defendant. To learn more, contact a dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorney at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt by calling (410) 567-0800.

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