Advocacy Update

July 26, 2018: Judicial Advocacy Update


After a Connecticut physician tested a patient for sexually transmitted diseases, his office may have mistakenly informed the patient that the test results came back negative. The patient's girlfriend claims her boyfriend—who was the patient—tested positive for herpes and later infected her with the disease.

Standing for physicians

The AMA Litigation Center is the strongest voice for America's medical profession in legal proceedings across the country.

The girlfriend—who was never the physician's patient and whom the physician was not aware of while providing care to her boyfriend—has sued the doctor for claims that all relate to professional negligence.

Does the physician have a duty to the girlfriend? It's a question the Supreme Court of the State of Connecticut is poised to answer.

The court heard arguments in November and asked the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS), along with other organizations, to submit a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, Doe v Cochran. The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies and CSMS filed an amicus brief that urges Connecticut's highest court to uphold a trial court ruling that dismissed the case in a ruling that said the physician didn't have a duty to the girlfriend because she was not his patient.

Read more at AMA Wire®.

A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case tried to prove her claims by using an expert witness who concluded that there was malpractice, but never discussed what the standard of care that should have been followed was or how the physician breached that standard of care.

The Supreme Court of the State of Washington in June ruled 7–2 that the case, Reyes v. Yakima Health District, could not go to trial because a conclusory statement like the one the plaintiff presented is not enough to show there is a medical negligence claim.

"Allegations amounting to an assertion that the standard of care was to correctly diagnose or treat the patient are insufficient," the justices said. "Instead, the affiant must state specific facts showing what the applicable standard of care was and how the defendant violated it. [The doctor in this case] failed to do so. … We do not require affiants to aver talismanic magic words, but allegations must amount to more than conclusions of misdiagnosis with a basis in admissible evidence that can support a claim."

Read more at AMA Wire.