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02/10/76 CALLAHAN v. WILLIAM BEAUMONT HOSPITAL

February 10, 1976

CALLAHAN
v.
WILLIAM BEAUMONT HOSPITAL



Appeal from Oakland, William John Beer, J.

Leave to appeal applied for.

McGregor, P. J., and Bashara and Allen, JJ. Allen, J. (concurring).

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Opinion of the Court

1. Negligence -- Medical Malpractice -- Specialists -- Similar Community Rule -- Standard of Care.

Medical specialists are exempted from the "similar community" rule and are held only to the standard of care of a reasonable specialist practicing medicine in the light of present day scientific knowledge.

2. Negligence -- Medical Malpractice -- General Practitioners -- Similar Community Rule -- Standard of Care.

General medical practitioners continue to be subject to the "similar community" rule and in Michigan are held to that degree of skill and diligence ordinarily exercised by the average members of the medical profession in the same or similar localities with due consideration to the state of the profession at the time.

3. Negligence -- Medical Malpractice -- Specialists -- General Practitioners -- Similar Community Rule -- Expert Witnesses.

A medical specialist who is acting as a general practitioner is not exempted from the "similar community" rule; where a defendant doctor is a surgeon but is not practicing surgery or utilizing any special skills and is acting as would any other doctor in treating a patient while on duty in the emergency room, the similar community rule applies and it is not error for the trial court to disqualify, as an expert witness, the doctor from other than the same or similar community who is to testify as to the standard of care for the defendant doctor.

4. Witnesses -- Expert Witnesses -- Standard of Care -- X-rays -- Trial court -- Discretion.

A trial court's ruling that a doctor is incompetent to testify as an expert witness as to the standard of care required of those hospital employees who examined a plaintiff's x-rays cannot be considered an abuse of discretion where the doctor witness was not a radiologist and had admitted on voir dire that he was not entitled by training to read, quote, or diagnose from x-rays.

5. Trial -- Directed Verdict -- Expert Witnesses -- Qualifications -- Jury Questions.

A trial court erred in granting a directed verdict in favor of a defendant doctor at a point in the proceedings where the plaintiffs' expert witness had been ruled incompetent to testify as to the standard of care in the community in which the defendant doctor was practicing but before the plaintiffs had concluded the presentation of their case; the plaintiffs should have been allowed to ...


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