Insurers lose another appeal arising out of verdict from 2004 medical malpractice claim.
Heather Swanson sued Dr. Jeannie L. Rowe, D.O., and Bluewater Obstetrics and Gynecology after Rowe punctured Swanson's aorta "during a laparoscopic procedure to remove an ovarian cyst." Swanson presented anothe specialist who testified that the injury simply could not have happened without Rowe's negligence: he put the odds at less that 1 in 10,000. He said that he could not confirm whether the aorta was punctured by a trocar or the insertion of the Veress needle.
Rowe testified, however, that she did nothing wrong, and the surgeon who assisted her also claimed that Rowe wasn't negligent in how she inserted the needle and trocar. Rowe also presented two paid experts who testified after reviewing Rowe's account of the surgery that they didn't think Rowe did anything wrong. On this basis, the Defendants argued that Swanson's jury verdict should be overturned on appeal because her expert must be mistaken and speculating about negligence.
The Court of Appeals pointed out that Rowe's original account of her actions at her deposition, and Swanson's expert's reliance upon his own extensive experience, provided an adequate foundation for the expert's opinion and the jury's verdict. Although the other (not-unbiased) experts disagreed with him, it was up to the jury to decide what to believe where the experts were in disagreement. The fact that the defendants presented four experts to the plaintiff's one, and that the plaintiff's expert couldn't document precisely how the defendant botched the surgery, went to the weight to be given to his opinion, not his admissibility.