Cardiologist Prevails In Negligence Case

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, ruled to uphold summary judgment in favor of Dr. John L. Pennock and Capital Area Cardiovascular Surgical Institute against plaintiff Larry Runk II. Runk alleged professional negligence after heart surgery in 2005.

Cardiac surgery expert witnesses are commonly needed in medical negligence cases.  Negligence claims against cardiac surgeons typically stem from complications of surgery, improper indications for surgery, or delay in surgery itself.

Runk’s only expert witness, Dr. Thomas J. Berger, was not allowed to offer standard of care testimony. With expertise in cardiac surgery, cardiology, thoracic surgery, general surgery and cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Berger is no longer in the active practice of cardiac surgery due to vision problems. According to Pennsylvania statute, medical expert witnesses must be active in clinical practice or teaching within the past five years.

Nearly all medical negligence litigation requires expert witness testimony. Securing the right expert is crucial. The fact pattern is often complicated and the case may become complex. Extensive review of the facts by a trained professional is essential to the finding in the case.


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