Contact Us





Anti-Spam Question:
 

Vascular Surgeon Not Qualified to Testify Against Family Practitioner Who Performed a Vascular Procedure – Afonso v. Bejjani – A-1623-15T4

By Attorney Michael B. Zerres on January 13, 2017

In this matter, decided on November 29, 2016, the Appellate Division ruled on yet another malpractice case involving the application of the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act (“Patients First Act”), set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41, and, held that the plaintiff’s proposed expert testimony was correctly excluded because said expert was not a family medicine specialist like the defendant. The case arises when two family practitioners, Drs. Ricci and Bejjani, both co-defendants, performed a phlebectomy upon plaintiff. A phlebectomy is the removal of varicose veins through small puncture sited in the skin using a surgical hook. The phlebectomy was performed on both of the plaintiff’s leg, each physician taking one leg. The result included an emergency room visit by the patient, with multiple infected wounds.

Dr. Ricci took the position that he was acting as a family medicine specialist when he operated on the plaintiff’s leg. However, Dr. Ricci’s deposition testimony gave  the impression that the medical specialty “involved” in conducting phlebectomies was that of vascular surgery. As a result, plaintiff’s counsel  retained a vascular surgeon as an expert witness against him. Dr. Ricci’s counsel relied on the Patients First Act to move to exclude plaintiff’s expert from testifying as a vascular surgeon in support of plaintiff’s claims of deviation from the standard of care. The trial Court agreed and barred plaintiff’s expert from testifying. The Court also entered summary judgment in defendants’ favor, as there was no expert who could establish a prima facie case against them.

The Appellate Court, in addressing plaintiff’s appeal, noted that any expert presented must specialize in the same specialty as the defendant physician. The Court also found that a phlebectomy can be performed by a family medicine specialist as well as a vascular surgeon.  While there was confusion concerning the specialty of the defendants, the Appellate Division nonetheless affirmed the trial Court’s exclusion of the plaintiff’s proposed expert, but also vacated the entry of  summary judgment and remanded the matter to the trial Court to afford the plaintiff a reasonable opportunity to obtain an appropriate substitute trial expert specializing in family medicine.

Related Articles:

Posted in: Medical Malpractice


Chatham: (973) 635-5400     Jersey City: (201) 963-4711     Sea Girt: (732) 758-6333     North Bergen: (201) 861-7757

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney Disclaimer: The New Jersey medical malpractice, accident, injury, serious accident, or other personal injury legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney or Medical Malpractice Lawyer for a consultation on your particular medical malpractice matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of New Jersey.

© 2017 Super Lawyers®, Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters.

Copyright © 2017 Blume Goldfaden Berkowitz Donnelly Fried & Forte, Chatham, NJ - All rights reserved. Attorneys serving all New Jersey Counties and Communities.