Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Valentine

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On February 14, 2011, St. Valentine’s Day, Mr. Waterman prevailed in substantial part against Sentara Hospitals and Defendants at medical malpractice “privilege” hearing pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-581.17. The case is Marshall v. Moniz, No.CL08-2018 in Circuit Court for the County of York and Poquoson, Virginia.

The Surgical Management Committee (“SMC”) of Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital reviewed the treatment and care of the Plaintiff patient by Dr. Moniz, who operated on him 5 times within a 30-day period. Sentara, Dr. Moniz and his Defendant practice, Williamsburg Surgery, P.C., sought to keep the SMC’s 3-page document from Plaintiff in the Marshall medical malpractice lawsuit.

But the Court in Marshall found that Plaintiff was entitled to all of the factual patient care information in the SMC document, despite accepting that the SMC was a protected peer review committee under §8.01-581.16. It followed Mr. Waterman’s landmark medical malpractice case, Riverside Hosp., Inc. v Johnson, 272 Va. 518 (2006), and its progeny before Judge Pugh in Newport News Circuit Court.

Notably, the favorable ruling by York County Circuit Court effectively reversed the contrary 2008 letter opinion on the identical point by the Circuit Court for the City of Williamsburg and James City County. The predecessor suit to the current Marshall medical malpractice action in York was Marshall v. Sentara, No. 07-614 in Williamsburg/James City, which was non-suited after refiling in York.