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Jury decides for defendants in med mal retrial

The 2005 Supreme Court of Virginia case that defined what constitutes an “active clinical practice” for expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases has ended in a second defense verdict.

Elizabeth Hinkley filed suit against two obstetricians and their practice in Montgomery County Circuit Court after both of her identical twin sons died at birth as a result of twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). She alleged that the obstetricians were negligent in failing to detect the syndrome and promptly deliver the second child by cesarean section after the first died in utero. Twins with the syndrome share a blood supply and a disproportionate share of blood goes to one twin.

The defendants prevailed in the first trial, but Hinkley argued successfully on appeal that a defense expert should not have been allowed to testify because he had not delivered a child in several years before his testimony, although he had practiced in the field for 33 years and still taught and consulted.

Bevin R. Alexander Jr. of Lynchburg, the attorney for the defendants, said a jury returned a defense verdict in February and Hinkley’s attorney told him recently that he will not appeal it.

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