Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Policies (December 9, 2014)

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On December 8, 2014, Virginia Lawyers Weekly covered a very favorable ruling obtained by Mr. Waterman, headlining “Discovery of hospital policy OK in malpractice suit”. Id. at 2. The case is Rauchfuss v. Schultz, No. CL1302754V-04, in Circuit Court for the City of Newport News, Virginia.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly recounted that Judge Pugh in Rauchfuss ordered Riverside to produce its “policies and procedures in place at the time of the alleged malpractice, as well as revised policies later implemented at the hospital”. Id. See, 10/31/14 Hr’g Order at 2-3 (Newport News Nov. 20, 2014). Virginia Lawyers Weekly also noted that as a matter of first-impression in Virginia the “judge even indicated the hospital’s policy might come in at trial to back up the plaintiff’s case on the standard of care for a radiologist.” Id. at 2. See, 10/31/14 Hr’g Tr. at 19/17-21.4, 24.14-24 (emphasis added).

Virginia Lawyers Weekly quoted: “’Maybe we need a Supreme Court case to clarify this,’ Pugh said at the Oct. 31 hearing. Different courts were making different rulings. ‘That’s why we need some clarification of it so we won’t have to run down this road each time,’ Pugh said.” Id. at 2.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported that a trio of medical malpractice defense lawyers chimed in against Judge Pugh’s ruling and comments in Rauchfuss. Id. at 2. Yet notably, there also were innumerable defense nay-sayers about another medical malpractice case against Riverside in 2005, where Judge Pugh likewise granted Mr. Waterman discovery and admissibility of hospital incident reports, database printouts, and educational/training material – which cutting-edge rulings were upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court in its landmark decision, Riverside Hosp., Inc. v. Johnson, 272 Va. 518 (2006).