Plaintiffs filed a claim for Medical Malpractice against four defendants: 1) an Emergency Room (ER) Physician; 2) a hospital; 3) a Neurologist; and 4) a Radiologist. Plaintiff, wife, claimed that defendants failed to diagnose and treat a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) when wife presented to the ER on May 25, 2014 or when she followed up with the Neurologist on May 28, 2014. A SAH in this matter was defined as bleeding in the brain from a ruptured or burst aneurysm. Plaintiff, wife, definitively suffered a SAH on June 4, 2014 while at work and was treated surgically at another hospital by a Neurosurgeon (not defendants). She claimed multiple neurological injuries and the inability to ever return to work. Plaintiff, husband, claimed loss of consortium.
Defendant ER physician filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ). Plaintiffs filed an Opposition with two expert declarations in support. The expert who was a qualified ER physician opined as to a breach in the standard of care but was silent on the issue of causation. The other expert, a Board Certified Radiologist/Neurointerventional Surgeon, opined as to both standard of care and causation. Ms. Haskins, through oral argument, reversed the Court’s tentative ruling denying the motion on the grounds that the second expert failed to show that he was qualified under California Health and Safety Code §1799.110(c) to provide expert medical testimony against a licensed Emergency Room Physician and therefore plaintiffs’ failed to raise a triable issue of material fact as to causation. The Court granted plaintiffs’ request to file supplemental briefing and a supplemental declaration by the qualified ER Physician expert as to the issue of causation. Plaintiffs filed a Writ and request for immediate stay which was read, considered and denied by the Appellate Court. At the second hearing on the MSJ, the Court’s tentative ruling was to grant the motion inasmuch as plaintiffs continued to rely on the opinions of the second expert even though the Court had deemed him unqualified. In addition, the Court ruled that reliance by the first ER expert upon the opinions of the second expert was improper hearsay and excluded the supplemental declaration of the ER Physician expert that was filed in support of the opposition.