Causes of Action in Medical Malpractice Case

After a surgery, a patient never wants to hear “the surgery didn’t go exactly as planned.” In lawsuits for medical malpractice, lawyers often use reports by experts in their respective fields as evidence that the physician did or did not follow the reasonable standards of care.

Standard of Care

In the medical world, all surgeons are held to a standard of care. This standard determines what the doctor must do at a minimum to avoid being considered negligent in performing a surgery. An expert report is generally compiled by a person with a vast knowledge of the type of surgery that is in question. Lawyers often argue about whether or not the expert report is thorough enough and contains all of the required information for such reports. This question was addressed by the Harris County Court of Appeals in the recent case, AMJADI v. MANDUJANO.

In this case, Mandujano sued Dr. Amjadi for negligence involving a breast lift and tummy tuck. Mandujano claimed that Dr. Amjadi failed to meet the standard of care necessary in performing the surgeries on Mandujano. As evidence to prove Dr. Amjadi’s lack of care, Mandujano brought in Dr. Kaplan to provide an expert report about the alleged negligence during the surgery. Kaplan’s report gave a detailed report on the portions of the surgery that were performed incorrectly. Kaplan’s final report stated that he found the surgery to be below the “accepted standards of care.” Dr. Amjadi argued that Kaplan’s report did not include all the necessary language in order to qualify as a valid expert report. The Court disagreed with Dr. Amjadi, stating that the report: 1) gave Dr. Amjadi notice of what the claims were; and 2) gave Dr. Amjadi notice of which standards of care were violated. Dr. Amjadi appealed this ruling and the Court of Appeals answered the question in the second part of AMJADI v. MANDUJANO.

Requirements of an Expert Report

The Texas Civil practice & Remedies Code requires an expert report to present a “fair summary” of: 1) the expert’s opinions about the standard of care on the date of the report; 2) the precise manner in which the doctor failed to meet that standard of care; 3) how the failure to meet the standard of care actually caused the harm to the patient.

Dr. Amjadi argued that Kaplan’s expert report did not fully explain how Dr. Amjadi’a alleged negligence actually caused the harm to the patient and that the report failed to use the precise terms needed to show negligence in a malpractice case. The Court disagreed with Dr. Amjadi, calling Dr. Kaplan’s report a “good faith effort” to meet the requirement for an expert opinion even if the report failed to use any “magic words.” The Court went on to hold that Dr. Kaplan provided enough information in his expert opinion to show that Dr. Amjadi’s negligence caused the harm to Mandujano. In short, Kaplan’s report met the requirements for an expert opinion in a medical malpractice case.

No two personal injury cases are the same, and a one-size-fits-all solution will never maximize the compensation available to you. In medical malpractice cases, understanding the process and the law behind it is the first step in the process. I invite you to call Guest and Gray Law Firm today to schedule a consultation. I want to meet with you so we can start working together to design a strategy tailored to fit your unique circumstances and achieve your personal goals. Let me stand up for your rights so you can have the peace of mind you need to move past this difficult time and into the next chapter of your life.