Need for expert witness testimony in Medical Negligence case

U] Goff v. Gonzalez (Ky. App., 2013)

The Estate further argues that expert testimony as to causation was unnecessary because Gonzalez’s negligence was so apparent a layperson could readily recognize it. We disagree.


        Here, there was evidence introduced that Gonzalez allegedly breached the standard of care by failing to recognize that Thomas’s appendix was abnormal on the CT scan performed on April 10. However, as noted, no expert medical evidence was introduced as to whether this breach of the standard of care caused any injury or the death of Thomas. The record reveals that Thomas’s medical course of treatment was complex and involved many physicians. It is simply not within a layperson’s general knowledge that Gonzalez’s failure to recognize Thomas’s abnormal appendix on the CT scan caused injury or his untimely death. We cannot conceive any situation where a layperson would be qualified to read a CT scan or otherwise medically diagnose appendicitis.


        Accordingly, we conclude that expert medical testimony was needed to establish causation which was a necessary element to a determination of negligence by Gonzalez in this case. The circuit court properly rendered a directed verdict in favor of Gonzalez at trial.


        For the foregoing reasons, the order of the Pulaski Circuit Court is affirmed.


        ALL CONCUR.

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