In an important decision in May, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided to uphold a 2004 law that required doctors offering expert testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit to practice in the same field as the doctor being sued. The goal of the law is to ensure that doctors are given fair treatment by the court and not subjected to frivolous lawsuits. According to the New Jersey Supreme Court in its Nicholas v. Mynster decision, that law is fair and constitutional.
Treatment Knowledge of Condition Is Not Enough
The central issue in the case of Nicholas v. Mynster is whether a doctor’s knowledge of the condition is sufficient to act as an expert witness in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The case involves brain damage suffered by the plaintiff after operating a gas-powered saw in a basement that he had been hired to remodel. The plaintiff became ill with carbon monoxide poisoning, and the responding physicians, certified in emergency medicine, treated him with oxygen. The treatment was not sufficient to prevent the plaintiff from suffering brain damage, however.
The plaintiff sued, alleging that the treating physicians should have referred him to a facility with a hyperbaric chamber for treatment. They filed an affidavit of merit—a medical malpractice requirement under New Jersey law—signed by a physician in internal and preventative medicine, including the use of hyperbaric chambers and another doctor who served on the staff of an emergency department.
However, during trial, only one doctor testified—the one who was not involved with emergency medicine. As a result, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted summary judgment to the defendant.
We Can Help You Avoid These Mistakes
Mistakes like the one in this case can ruin any chance you have of victory. To avoid them, you need the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Andres & Berger, our award-winning medical malpractice attorneys give you the best chance at winning your case. We have access to medical experts from numerous medical specialties and can help you find an appropriate expert to sign your affidavit of merit and to testify for you in court.
For help with your medical malpractice lawsuit, please contact Andres & Berger in Haddonfield, New Jersey today.