The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently upheld the victory of the administratrix of the estate of decedent Jeanne Ellis in her lawsuit against Dr. Peter Clarke for wrongful death and malpractice. The jury determined that defendant Dr. Peter Clarke was negligent in his care and treatment of Ellis and that his negligence was a substantial contributing factor causing Ellis’s death from lung cancer. Clarke appealed from the denial of his motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for new trial or, in the alternative, remittitur. The court affirmed.Dr. Clark contended that the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (judgment n.o.v.) was improperly denied because the evidence at trial was insufficient for a number of reasons. He first argued that one of Ellis’ expert witnesses, Dr. Luchs, a radiologist, was unqualified to render an opinion on standard of care because he was not an emergency radiologist. The appeals court found that the the trial court correctly determined that Dr. Luchs was qualified; he is a diagnostic radiologist who specializes in vascular and interventional radiology. Throughout his career, he had read and reported chest x-rays from emergency departments. Dr. Luchs had substantially similar education and training as both Dr. Clarke and Dr. Abujudeh, one of Clarke’s experts. Moreover, Dr. Luchs testified that his job often required him to read x-rays in an emergency room setting. For these reasons, the appeals court concluded that there was no abuse of discretion in admitting his testimony.
The family of a woman who died from pregnancy complications at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton was recently given the authority to proceed with their wrongful death lawsuit. Paula Sampson, a 32-year-old Hadley resident, died while she was a patient at Cooley in 2013. The family sued shortly thereafter.In Massachusetts medical malpractice lawsuits, a tribunal made up of a judge, an attorney, and a doctor hear arguments and decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the suit to continue. (The members of the tribunal are not otherwise involved with the lawsuit.)