Reviewing Important Illinois Healthcare Court Rulings: Evidence of Expert's Personal Practice Inadmissible

In Swift v. Schleicher, 2017 IL App (2d) 170218, plaintiff sought to impose liability on Defendant physician after he perforated Plaintiff's small bowel during a laparoscopic hysterectomy and failed to diagnose the perforations until four days later. Defendant attempted to introduce evidence that Plaintiff's expert perforated a patient's bowel during a 1989 procedure.

The Appellate Court noted that an expert's standard of care testimony may be impeached by personal practice testimony only if such testimony is inconsistent with the expert's standard of care testimony. The 1989 procedure differed from the care at issue in multiple ways: (1) the 1989 procedure involved insertion of the umbilical trocar, while Defendant was inserting the left trocar; (2) the two insertions were performed at different stages of surgery; (3) the insertions were performed with different visualization levels; (4) the procedures involved patients with different anatomy; and (5) Plaintiff's expert recognized the perforation during surgery, while Defendant did not. Because of these differences in the procedures the Court found that Plaintiff's expert's personal practice testimony was not inconsistent with his testimony that Defendant breached the standard of care. Therefore, evidence of the 1989 procedure was irrelevant to impeach the expert's testimony regarding the 2010 standard of care.

Subscribe via Email