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Where doctor's testimony about what he would have done deviates from standard of care, there is a question of fact for the jury

A Petoskey medical malpractice claim brought by Sherri Martin against Northern Michigan Hospital and several surgeons was dismissed after the subsequent treating physician testified that "even if nurses had informed him of a deterioration in the patient's condition, he would not have taken any further action."  The court ruled that this testimony must necessarily eliminate any possibility of proof that the alleged nursing failure "caused" injury.  Ms. Martin's attorneys argued that if the subsequent treater's claim of inaction contradicts his duty under the standard of care, it should be for the jury to decide whether his testimonial "excuse" for his co-workers is truthful. 

On appeal, the Supreme Court agreed with Martin.  It ruled that if the subsequent treater's testimony about what action he would have taken is inconsistent with the evidence regarding his standard of care obligation, the jury must make the decision about whether the alleged nursing malpractice "contributed" to the patient's poor outcome.  In other words, the jury is free to dismiss the subsequent treater's after-the-fact speculation about what he would have done, if that speculation appears to contradict what the standard of care would have required him to do.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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