Is it a defense in a medical malpractice case to show that subsequent providers were negligent and caused the injury?

Copsey v. Park, 228 Md. App. 107, 137 A.3d 299 (2016), cert. granted, 449 Md. 408, 144 A.3d 704 (2016)



Negligence, Superseding causation: In the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice action asserting that the defendant physician negligently misread the decedent’s MRI/MRA brain exam six days before the decedent suffered a fatal stroke, the circuit court did not err in admitting evidence of the negligence of subsequent treating physicians and instructing the jury on superseding causation because when, as here, a doctor asserts a complete denial of liability, evidence of both negligence and causation attributable to a non-party is relevant.

Stroke leading to death.  Subsequent providers settled or dismissed.  Two pretrial motions:  (a) exclude reference to defendant status and (b) exclude evidence of fault of subsequent providers.  Denied.  Jury finds no negligence of first radiologist.  Appealed.  Argued moot.  Contaminated.

The crux of Appellant’s argument is that Dr. Park could not, as a matter of law, have been absolved of liability by the negligent acts of subsequent treating physicians. We disagree and shall explain.

In Martinez, we took up the issue of whether evidence of prior third-party negligence is admissible in a medical malpractice action where the defendant asserts a complete denial of liability.

Our holding in Martinez that “evidence of both negligence and causation attributable to a non-party is relevant where a defendant asserts a complete denial of liability,”

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