The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has decided to reexamine one case’s acceptance of evidence in a recent medical malpractice lawsuit. The original case alleged that a doctor was negligent during the victim’s hysterectomy and that he accidentally severed her bowel during the surgery in 2013. At trial, the judge allowed the defense to explain to the jury the general risks associated with routine hysterectomies. The jury ultimately found that the doctor was not guilty of negligence.
A Superior Court later decided to order a new trial based on the trial judge’s acceptance of evidence surrounding the potential complications of hysterectomies. The Superior Court panel was concerned that such evidence may have influenced the jury in favor of the doctor. Such evidence, the panel argued, should not be relevant in medical negligence cases. The panel also agreed that information concerning the surgical risks of hysterectomies should only be admitted when questioning whether the patient had given informed consent to treatment or when establishing a standard of care.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Set to Issue Ruling in Medical Malpractice Appeal
The Superior Court’s ruling, according to the defendants, conflicts with an earlier Supreme Court decision which allows information regarding known risks into evidence as it relates to the standard of care in specific medical procedures. Such evidence, the defense argues, can help jury members understand the potential for complications in the absence of negligent behavior. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear both arguments and make an official ruling on this matter.
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