Expert Article Library
Medical Experts Excluded for Failure to Articulate Basis for Standard of Care
Case Name: Blevens v. Holcomb (Click here for the full text of the case)
Court: 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date: December 1, 2006
Expert: General medical practitioners. Dr. Mary Alice Helikson and Dr. David Fleischer, M.D.s
Issues: Whether the plaintiffs experts had failed to articulate the standard of care from which they based their opinion?
Summary of case: Plaintiffs daughter was born with congenital defects in her bowel and died after being taken to the hospital for complaining about severe abdominal pain and joint stiffness. Plaintiff brought a medical malpractice case against the doctor in charge. After a jury awarded over one million dollars to the plaintiff, the District Court granted judgment as a matter of law to the defendants.
Role of the expert: The experts were to testify to the appropriate standard of care and to the fact that Dr. Holcombs performance failed to meet that standard.
Challenges to the Expert's testimony: The defense claimed that the plaintiffs experts failed to articulate and apply the proper standard of care. Even through both experts testified about the standard of care, they did in fact fail to explain the source of their standard. The Court of Appeal held that not laying this foundation was fatal to the plaintiffs case. The District Court properly excluded the testimony of the plaintiffs experts and granted judgment as a matter of law.
Summary prepared by M. Lanzone, Student, University of California, Hastings College of Law