PHILADELPHIA – The dismissal of a medical negligence lawsuit
that hinged on orders related to the allowance of expert testimony was upheld
on March 3 by the state Superior Court.
According to the Superior Court opinion, Lisa Ball sued Holy
Redeemer Health System and Drs. Gemma Rozmus and Gilbert Tausch amid claims
that the defendants were negligent because they did not properly anticipate
and/or control her reaction to Narcan and because they failed to properly
restrain her after administering the drug, increasing the risk that she would
suffer physical injury.
Ball submitted to the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery
County a standard-of-care expert report prepared by Dr. Ira Mehlman. However,
Tausch asked the court to bar the expert report. As a result, the only part of
the report the trial court allowed was related to the physical restraint of
Ball in the hospital’s emergency room.
According to the Superior Court ruling, the defendants
objected to Mehlman’s qualifications following his videotaped trial testimony
“Notably, in contrast to his curriculum vitae, Dr. Mehlman’s
testimony revealed that he had not practiced clinically since the latter
portion of 2010 and that he was no longer board certified in emergency
medicine,” the Superior Court opinion said. “Further, although Dr. Mehlman
testified that he was scheduled to give several lectures in the future, he
acknowledged that he had not been actively involved in teaching at a medical
school since late 2010.”
The defendants filed a new motion to preclude Mehlman’s testimony.
This time, the trial court granted the motion, and Ball’s complaint was
dismissed with prejudice.
On appeal of the dismissal, Ball asked the Superior Court to
decide whether the trial court was wrong to impose “the most severe of
sanctions of dismissing the underlying action without due consideration of lesser
sanctions,” as well as whether the lower court was in error when it denied a
motion to bar any evidence of or in reference to her alleged drug abuse.
“(Ball) had ample time during seven years of litigation in
which to find another standard-of-care expert or to appropriately supplement
Dr. Mehlman’s curriculum vitae and/or testimony,” the Superior Court said in
its ruling, adding that further delay would have been "prejudicial and unnecessary.”