Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Malpractice Panel Member May Be Deposed

Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Malpractice Panel Member May Be Deposed

Article excerpt

Klarfeld v. Salsbury,--Va.--, 355 S.E. 2d 319 (1987).

Parties to a medical malpractice action in Virginia have the right to take the pretrial deposition of any member of a medical malpractice review panel, the collective opinion of which may be introduced at trial. In reaching this conclusion in Klarfeld v. Salsbury,--Va.--, 355 S.E. 2d 319 (1987), the Virginia Supreme Court found it unnecessary to address the more fundamental question raised in this ease of whether the admission of the panel opinion was unconstitutional.

Since 1976, either party to a claim of medical malpractice has had the option of requiring the claim to be heard by a medical malpractice review panel prior to trial.

In this case, the panel was requested by the health care providers, after Klarfeld claimed that their negligence in treating his eleven-year-old son's diabetes had caused severe brain damage.

The panel consisted of two physicians, a hospital administrator, three attorneys and a circuit court judge. The panel rendered an opinion that there had been no negligence in the treatment of Klarfeld's son.

Klarfeld nevertheless filed suit. In preparing for trial, he sought to take the discovery deposition of Dr. …

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