Anderson v. McAfoos, et al (majority)Annotate this Case
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether a pathologist was competent to testify as an expert witness regarding the standard of care in a medical malpractice action asserted against a board-certified general surgeon. Decedent Mildred Anderson sought treatment from surgeon Gary McAfoos, M.D. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Anderson took a turn for the worse and died from sepsis in response to surgery ultimately conducted by Dr. McAfoos and his practice partners. Mrs. Anderson's estate sued, and at trial proferred the testimony of a pathologist, who asserted that Dr. McAfoos and his agents' acts fell below ordinary standards of care by allowing Mrs. Anderson's discharge from the hospital despite certain indicators that she was suffering from a serious infection (that ultimately lead to her death). The doctor objected to Mrs. Anderson's use of the pathologist as an expert, arguing he was incompetent to assess the standard of care on a doctor who sees patients, "[h]e can't possibly second guess care and treatment on a patient when he doesn't see patients." The trial court sustained the objection to the expert's testimony; subsequently the doctor moved for nonsuit which was granted. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that Mrs. Anderson did not properly preserve her claim that the expert's credentials satisfied the requirements of the state competency statute, and accordingly, could not advance her contention that he should have been allowed to render standard-of-care testimony against a board-certified surgeon.