Maryland Court Denies Expert Medical Testimony in Negligence Claim

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently issued an opinion in a medical malpractice action involving issues of expert testimony. In Abbasov v. Dahiya (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Apr. 29, 2016), the plaintiff brought claims for medical negligence, lack of informed consent, fraud, and loss of consortium against the physician who applied her chemical facial peel. During the trial, the court ruled that the plaintiff’s medical expert could not express an opinion regarding the standard of care for the application of the chemical peel because he was not board certified in a specialty related to the defendant’s specialty, as required by the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Act. The court therefore granted judgment in favor of the defendant at the close of the plaintiff’s case on her medical negligence and fraud claims. The plaintiff appealed that decision, arguing that the court erred by precluding the expert witness from testifying as to the standard of care.

In Maryland, a health care provider may be held liable for medical negligence if the plaintiff establishes that the care given by the health care provider was not in accordance with the standards of practice among members of the same health care profession, with similar training and experience, situated in the same or similar communities. In addition, any health care provider who testifies as to a defendant’s compliance with or departure from the standard of care must have practiced or taught medicine in the defendant’s specialty or field of health care, or a related field of health care to the field in which the defendant provided care to the plaintiff, within five years from the date of the alleged act. That witness must also be board certified in the same or a related specialty.

In Abbasov, the plaintiff offered testimony from a physician who was board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, arguing that it is a related specialty to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. The appeals court, however, found that it was clear that an OB/GYN does not practice in a related specialty to an otolaryngologist or facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with respect to the application of and follow-up care for a chemical peel. Furthermore, none of the areas of specialized training in the field of obstetrics and gynecology concern treatment of the face and neck, treatment of skin conditions, or the application of chemical peels. The plaintiff also contended that the defendant was not board certified in any specialty and lied in his deposition. However, since the plaintiff did not object, the court found that this argument was waived. After considering the remaining grounds for appeal, the court ultimately affirmed the entire judgment of the trial court.

For many people injured as the result of a medical procedure or treatment, seeking advice from a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help them understand and evaluate their legal options. At the Maryland firm of Foran & Foran, P.A., our medical malpractice attorneys have substantial experience representing individuals in a range of personal injury claims, including medical negligence and malpractice. To discuss your case with one of our injury lawyers, contact Foran & Foran, P.A. at (301) 441-2022 or online.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Court of Special Appeals Rules in Medical Malpractice Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published June 24, 2015

Maryland Court of Special Appeals Upholds Majority of Million-Dollar Jury Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published December 9, 2015

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