The “related specialty” trap is prevalent in the medical-legal world. Plaintiffs often claim that various medical specialties communicate with one another regularly; therefore, they are in “related fields of health care” as required by Maryland law – even if they are not. You can avoid this common trap by challenging it as flawed.
Recently, we were able to help a radiology client avoid the trap. Our client was sued for failing to properly communicate radiology results to the OB/GYN who ordered the study. Plaintiff’s case was “certified” by an OB/GYN expert only, but Plaintiff argued that radiologists and OB/GYNs communicate with one another regularly, and therefore have “related specialties.”
We argued that radiologists communicate with many specialists, and Plaintiff’s argument was nothing more than a trap that, if supported, would allow any doctor who communicates with other specialists to be qualified to testify. Upon filing a motion to exclude Plaintiff’s OB/GYN expert, our radiology client was dismissed.
Determining whether medical specialties are truly in a “related field of health care” can be tricky. Unfortunately, Maryland courts have done little to assist in weeding out unqualified experts. Bottom line: don’t get trapped by intertwined medical specialties!