Issues: Medical malpractice; Expert testimony substantiating the cause of the claimed injuries; Barnard Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Gates Performance Eng'g, Inc.; Pennington v. Longabaugh; Res ipsa loquitur argument; Jones v. Porretta
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: Taylor v. McCarthy
e-Journal Number: 59218
Judge(s): Per Curiam – O’Connell, Borrello, and Gleicher
The court affirmed that trial court's order granting the defendants' motion for summary disposition, ruling that the plaintiff-Edie Taylor lacked expert testimony substantiating that the intubation caused her claimed injuries during surgery. Defendant-McCarthy, CRNA, the nurse anesthetist, encountered difficulty intubating Taylor. With the assistance of an anesthesiologist, she successfully placed the endotracheal tube. Three weeks later, a CT scan revealed a small fracture of Taylor's right mandible. She alleging that a negligently performed intubation caused the fracture and other jaw-related problems. She structured her appellate argument around her expert, B's, deposition testimony that "McCarthy's negligence during the intubation caused Taylor's mandible fracture." According to Taylor's appellate brief, "[t]he trial court erred in disregarding the testimony of" B, "a CRNA, just like McCarthy." The brief continued, "His testimony, if believed, directly establishes ‘proximate cause.'" Defendants contended that Taylor failed to preserve this challenge to the trial court's ruling. They correctly asserted that in the trial court, Taylor failed to cite any testimony offered by B in support of her proximate causation claim. Thus, they insisted, Taylor's current argument - that B's testimony sufficed to establish proximate cause - should not be considered. The court agreed with defendants that Taylor's proximate causation argument in the trial court bore "little resemblance to the argument she makes on appeal, and that Taylor failed to cite any portion" of B's testimony in her trial court brief. Thus, it declined to consider it. The court found no merit in Taylor's remaining arguments. It has repeatedly held that in a medical malpractice case, "Expert testimony is essential to establish a causal link between the alleged negligence and the alleged injury." It found this rule particularly applicable in this case, as Dr. B's (an oral surgeon Taylor consulted) testimony supported that Taylor's impacted wisdom tooth or the nearby infected bone may have caused or contributed to her jaw fracture.
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