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Supreme Court revives claim for death of child

The Supreme Court of Virginia has given a family a new chance at a medical malpractice claim for a child who died of whooping cough after a hospital emergency doctor failed to admit him for treatment.

In Jackson v. Qureshi, the court today ruled the trial court erred by excluding the family’s expert witness, a New Hampshire pediatrician.

The expert testified the standard for appreciating whooping cough was the same, regardless of the medical setting.  That uncontradicted testimony was enough to satisfy the statutory knowledge requirement for expert qualification, wrote Justice Cynthia D. Kinser for the court.

Furthermore, the court held that the pediatrician’s experience treating children with whooping cough at an urgent care clinic was close enough to work in an emergency room setting to satisfy the “active clinical practice” requirement.

Since the lower court had dismissed the action based on exclusion of the plaintiff’s one and only expert, and that expert now is deemed qualified, the case is remanded for trial.

By Peter Vieth

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