Utah Court of Appeals holds that a physician cannot testify about the post-operative standard of care required of nurses

July 11, 2013

De Adder v. Intermountain Healthcare, — P.3d —, 2013 WL 3475379 (Utah App. 2013)

The Utah Court of Appeals held that a physician cannot testify about the post-operative standard of care required of nurses attending a patient who received a CPM (continuous-passive-motion) therapy following knee replacement surgery. The Court reaffirmed the same-specialty requirement for malpractice experts and ruled that “an exception to the general rule that a physician cannot testify as an expert against another provider who has a different specialty” does not apply. For this exception to apply, explained the Court, “a medical expert witness brought in to testify [must be] knowledgeable about the applicable standard of care”; alternatively, his specialty’s standard of care must be “the same as the standard of care in the alleged negligent doctor’s specialty.” The plaintiff’s expert failed to show eligibility under this exception. His opinion was stricken out and the plaintiff’s suit was dismissed.