On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an opinion that could have a significant impact on Missouri personal injury cases based on alleged medical malpractice or medical negligence. The Court was called upon to interpret a Missouri statute, R.S.Mo. 538.225, that essentially requires Missouri medical malpractice plaintiffs to file an affidavit of merit early on in medical malpractice litigation stating they have obtained a written opinion from an expert actively practicing in the same field as the defendant. The case was filed against a neurosurgeon, but the plaintiff had obtained an opinion from an interventional radiologist. Based on the distinction between neurosurgery and interventional radiology, the defendant neurosurgeon claimed the plaintiff failed to comply with the statute. The Court, however, disagreed, holding that the statute did not require medical malpractice plaintiffs to obtain an opinion from an expert certified by the same specialty board as the defendant. Instead, the key issue is whether the plaintiff’s expert physician has performed the same type of procedures as the defendant physician.
The case is Ann Spradling, et al. v. SSM Health Care St. Louis, et al.