Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division
Case Name: Buxton v. Ormseth
Citation: 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159120
The plaintiffs, a married couple, alleged negligence against a physician practicing at a gastroenterology clinic. The plaintiffs claimed the doctor had failed to inform the wife of the possible side effects, such as renal failure, associated with the medicine prescribed to her, OsmoPrep, prior to a colonoscopy. The plaintiffs also cited the FDA’s official approval for OsmoPrep which included warnings of renal failure in patients who were of elevated age, taking ACE inhibitors, or on diabetic medications. The plaintiffs claim she had these risk factors and had disclosed them to the doctor during an exam prior to the colonoscopy. Three months after the procedure, the patient plaintiff was diagnosed with renal failure. The plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice suit and retained a nephrology expert witness to support their case.
Nephrology Expert Witness
The nephrology expert witness was a practicing nephrologist in Rhode Island. He obtained his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Emory Healthcare. He was board certified in internal medicine and had more than 30 years of practicing experience. He was retained by the plaintiffs to testify about nephrological issues in the case. The defendant challenged the nephrology expert’s admissibility and moved to have his testimony excluded.
The defendant challenged the reliability of the nephrology expert’s proposed testimony, specifically his opinion that the administered OsmoPrep induced renal failure in the patient plaintiff. The defendant, thus, moved to exclude the testimony under Daubert.
In response, the court found that the nephrology expert witness’s testimony was sufficient to satisfy the plaintiffs’ burden of proof and able to be admitted in this case. The court further concluded that the expert witness was a well-qualified nephrologist whose opinions were sufficiently reliable to satisfy the standard set by Daubert.
The fact that the plaintiff suffered from renal failure so soon after taking OsmoPrep, in combination with her other preexisting conditions, did lend further credibility to the expert’s testimony, in the court’s opinion. The court also noted it found it difficult for the defendants to explain away the fact that the renal failure occurred so shortly after, especially when the plaintiff’s kidney function had been normal prior to the procedure.
The defendant’s motion to exclude the nephrology expert witness’s testimony was denied.