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Expert witness in medical negligence deemed not expert enough

Navigating a civil lawsuit is a complicated field of the law and when it comes to expert witnesses, it becomes even more intricate. This was underscored by a medical negligence lawsuit in Tennessee in which a patient claimed that a medical assistant's negligence caused him to fall and break his back. The plaintiff chose a neurosurgeon as an expert witness, but the trial court and the appellate court found the neurosurgeon failed to meet the requirements for being an expert in this case.

According to court documents, the medical assistant asked the plaintiff to sit on the bed to have his blood pressure measured. He said he was unable to get onto the bed, but the defendant insisted, leading to the patient stepping onto the stool and falling. He claimed to have struck a wall before falling onto the concrete floor, landing on his buttocks. He alleges the assistant helped him into a chair and had a Licensed Practical Nurse examine him. After having X-rays taken, he was sent home.

He alleges the hospital called him the following day and fetched him because the X-rays showed his back was broken. This, he claimed, led to surgical procedures. In defense, the LPN said she found the patient sitting on the bed, and no fall was reported. The patient filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming medical negligence, with his expert witness prepared to testify on his behalf. The court found that, although the neurosurgeon would likely qualify as an expert witness in another case, his lack of expert knowledge of the standard of acceptable practice of a medical assistant, nurse practitioner, and LPN renders him unqualified in this case.

This underscores the need for anyone in Tennessee who is the victim of medical negligence to seek experienced legal counsel. A skilled attorney can advocate for the plaintiff, and make sure the expert witness meets the requirements of the court. A lawyer can work to recover maximum damages for economic and noneconomic losses.

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