“Same Specialty” Again

September 1, 2013

Smith v. Fisher, — So.3d —, 2013 WL 4618723 (Ala. 2013)

In this case, the Alabama Supreme Court has upheld the trial court’s decision that a board-certified internal medicine specialist cannot testify against a neurosurgeon on the theory that the neurosurgeon’s postoperative care of a neurosurgical patient (who died from aneurism-related complications) fell into the domain of internal medicine. In reaching this conclusion under Alabama’s “same specialty” statute, Ala.Code 1975 § 6-5-548, the Court relied on its ruling in the Hegarty case—discussed here—that “The fact that [two certifying boards] may have the same purpose, that they may certify providers for the same procedures, or that they may require the same qualifications [is] irrelevant. Section 6–5–548(e) plainly states that if the two providers are not certified by the same organization, then one cannot testify as to the standard of care applicable to the other.”