Malpractice victim cannot subpoena records relating to doctor's credentialing and privileges
Yolanda Johnson, the Personal Representative of the Estate of Vera Jackson, sued Detroit Medical Center, Andre Nunn, and their specialty practices, alleging that Jackson died as a result of professional negligence. The family sought to obtain copies of the file containing the doctor's credentialling and privileges with the Hospital, and the Operating Room Log (with names redacted), documenting the surgeon's practice. The Hospital argued that the so-called "peer review" statute protected the Hospital's files and that the physician-patient privilege protected the OR Log, thus allowing the Hospital to refuse to produce the relevant records.
The trial court rejected this claim and ordered production of appropriately redacted copies of the record. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's holding and broadly applied the peer review and physician-patient privileges to protect the documents from disclosure. As a practical matter the ruling means that hospitals have near-complete protection from liability arising out of their failure to discipline or limit the practice of a surgeon who repeatedly demonstrates negligence or incompetence.