Generally, a party alleging obstetric malpractice is entitled to the disclosure of any facts and information that is necessary and material to pursue a lawsuit. While the policy typically favors liberal discovery, there are some privileges that provide exceptions to the general rule. For example, Education Law § 6537(3) protects certain information produced by a hospital performing a medical malpractice or quality assurance review. Recently, a New York appellate court analyzed the discrete issue of whether a defendant in an obstetric malpractice lawsuit can be compelled to testify regarding statements made by another defendant in a meeting protected by § 6537(3). If your child suffered injuries at birth because of insufficient obstetric care, it is essential to engage a seasoned Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney regarding the care that led to your child’s harm and what evidence you may be able to obtain to support your claim.
Testimony Regarding the Plaintiff’s Care
It is alleged that the plaintiff mother was admitted to the defendant hospital for induction of labor. The plaintiff infant was delivered via an emergency cesarean section later the same day. The plaintiffs allege that due to obstetric malpractice during the course of labor and delivery the plaintiff infant suffered permanent and severe injuries, including brain damage. The plaintiffs brought an obstetric malpractice lawsuit against the defendant nurse, defendant doctor, and defendant hospital.
Reportedly, during the deposition of the defendant nurse, the plaintiffs’ attorney questioned the defendant nurse regarding what the defendant doctor stated during the subsequent quality assurance meeting to review the events that transpired during the plaintiff infant’s birth. The defendants’ attorney objected to the question on the grounds that the information was protected by Education Law § 6537(3). The plaintiffs then filed a motion to compel the defendant nurse to testify regarding the meeting.
Privilege Protecting Information Produced in Medical Malpractice and Quality Assurance Review Meetings
Education Law § 6537(3) provides that the records and proceedings of a quality assurance or medical malpractice review are protected from disclosure. Additionally, § 6537(3) protects parties present at such a review meeting from testifying as to what transpired at the meeting, unless the party is a defendant in a case arising out of the matter that is under review. In the subject case, the defendants’ attorney argued that because the defendant nurse was questioned regarding what the defendant doctor stated at the meeting, § 6537(3) precluded her from testifying, as the questions pertained to what transpired at the meeting.
The court was not convinced by this argument, finding that the clear language of the statute provided that the defendant nurse could testify as to statements made by any person at the meeting who was a defendant in the subject case, regardless of whether she was the person who made the statements. As such, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to compel the defendant nurse to testify regarding the defendant doctor’s statements.
Retain an Experienced Obstetric Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If your child suffered a birth injury because of inadequate obstetric care it is vital to retain an experienced Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing damages from the parties responsible for your child’s harm. The knowledgeable Rochester obstetric malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will vigorously pursue any evidence that will help you set forth persuasive arguments in favor of your recovery. You can reach us at 585-653-7343 or through our form online to schedule a free and confidential meeting to discuss your case.