Gastroenterology Expert Witness Testimony Exclusion Affirmed

Appellant appealed an opinion by the trial court to exclude the expert witness testimony of gastroenterology expert witness.  The appeals court affirmed the lower court opinion.

Facts:  This case (Fipps v. Greenwood Leflore Hospital – Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi – February 6th, 2018) involves an appeal from a medical malpractice case.  The appellant, Otis Fipps, underwent an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) procedure which was performed by y Dr. Thomas Calvit. Fipps complained of pain in his right and lower quadrants, difficulty swallowing, constipation, and rectal bleeding.  In addition, Fipp mentioned to Dr. Calvit that it was possible that he had recently injected a small piece of plastic prior to his appointment.  Fipps alleges that an esophageal dilatation performed by Dr. Calvit caused a perforation of his esophagus, which has lead to further medical complications.   Fipps hired Dr. Myron Stokes (Gastroenterology Expert Witness) to provide expert witness testimony.  Dr. Stokes’ testimony was challenged and excluded by the trial court.  Fipps appeals this decision.

Discussion: Dr. Stokes testified that the esophageal dilatation procedure was not designated in any of Dr. Calvit’s findings, which is a deviation from the standard or care.  In addition, Dr. Stokes opined that the esophageal dilatation was the event that led to Fipps’ increased medical complications.  The defendants filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony on three issues:  1) informed consent; 2) any opinion by Dr. Stokes that his medical license was current or that he had ever been disciplined; and 3) that Dr. Stokes did not have the proper qualifications to testify as an expert witness.  The lower court agreed and excluded Dr. Stokes’ testimony.

The appeals opined that any questions pertaining to Dr. Stokes’ knowledge of the standards of care for a  gastroenterologist were not asked.  In addition, the court stated that there is nothing in Dr. Stokes’s deposition that Dr. Stokes is familiar with gastroenterology.  In addition, Dr. Stokes’s testimony indicated that he had never used a specific tool used by Dr. Calvit during the procedure.  The court also mentioned that Dr. Stokes has never been an expert in gastroenterology in a litigation.

Fipps next argues that Dr. Stokes’s opinion in relation to informed consent was not disclosed properly.  The court stated that there is no reason to address this issue since they are affirming the trial court’s decision to exclude the testimony.  In addition, the court decided not to address the issue of Dr. Stokes’s license as they were affirming the order of the trial court.

Conclusion:  The order of the trial court to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Myron Stokes is affirmed.