A Connecticut law allegedly aimed to prevent frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits appears to be keeping many legitimate claims out of court. A recent article published by the Associated Press chronicles several medical malpractice claims. All seem to have legitimate cause to receive their day in court, yet all fail to make it before a jury.
The Expert Opinion
The 2005 Connecticut law is simple. Plaintiffs in any medical malpractice case are required to provide an opinion letter, written by an expert in the field, backing up their allegations. It must be filed along with the claim. The wording of the law says that the experts must have “similar” credentials to that of the medical professional accused of malpractice. Many state judges have determined “similar” to mean “identical.” As a result, legitimate claims are being denied because the expert’s credentials are not exactly the same as those of the defendant.
Loss of a Young Life
Patricia Votre knew her pregnancy would be high-risk after having suffered one miscarriage due to an incompetent cervix. She took the precaution of insisting that her doctor consult experts at Yale University regarding her pregnancy. Her doctor consented.
However, when she began having complications, her doctor refused to turn her care over to the experts at Yale and refused to show her the Yale group’s recommendations. Votre gave birth to her son, Miles, in 2006 only to lose him 51 days later when he succumbed to a blood infection. Votre filed a lawsuit against her physician for alleged breach of contract and emotional distress, claims that do not require an opinion letter. A state judge determined that Votre’s case alleged medical malpractice, and because she had not filed an opinion letter, her case was dismissed.
Edmund Lohnes of Denver claims he was nearly killed during a stay in a New Haven hospital in 2007. Despite wearing a bright red wristband to alert staff of a drug allergy, he was administered the same drug to which he was allergic. Lohnes’ lawsuit was ultimately dismissed because his opinion letter was written by a pulmonologist, but his lawsuit was aimed at a physician licensed to practice emergency medicine.
Missed Diagnosis of Injury
Richard Bennett, Sr. suffered a diabetic seizure in 2006 that directly resulted in a car crash. He was treated in the New Milford Hospital where his blood sugar was stabilized, and he was given pain medicine. However, the Bennett family claims that the doctor failed to diagnose the leg and spine fractures he sustained, and Bennett died two months later from a heart condition caused by severe pain from his injuries. The Bennett’s lawsuit was dismissed because a trauma surgeon wrote their opinion letter and the defendant was an emergency room doctor.
If you received substandard medical care that resulted in injury, it is vital you use the services of an experienced attorney who will not allow simple mistakes like those that caused these cases to be denied. Because your time to file a claim for damages is limited by law, it is important you contact us right away for a free consultation.