Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., No. 24629

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBURNETT; FINNEY
Citation487 S.E.2d 596,326 S.C. 248
PartiesJim Curtis GOODING, Respondent, v. ST. FRANCIS XAVIER HOSPITAL and Judith Hood, M.D., Petitioners. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 24629
Decision Date04 June 1996

Page 596

487 S.E.2d 596
326 S.C. 248
Jim Curtis GOODING, Respondent,
v.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER HOSPITAL and Judith Hood, M.D., Petitioners.
No. 24629.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard June 4, 1996.
Decided June 2, 1997.
Rehearing Denied July 10, 1997.

Page 597

[326 S.C. 250] Charles E. Carpenter, Jr., of Richardson, Plowden, Grier & Howser, P.A., Columbia; Elliott T. Halio, of Halio & Halio, P.A., and M. Dawes Cooke, Jr., of Barnwell, Whaley, Patterson & Helms, Charleston, for petitioners.

James H. Moss and H. Fred Kuhn, Jr., of Moss & Kuhn, P.A., Beaufort, for respondent.

BURNETT, Justice:

We granted certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hospital, 317 S.C. [326 S.C. 251] 320, 454 S.E.2d 328 (Ct.App.1995). We affirm in part and reverse in part.

FACTS

Respondent (Gooding) brought this medical malpractice action against petitioners (Hospital and Dr. Hood) alleging Dr. Hood, an anesthesiologist, chipped his two front teeth while intubating 1 him for surgery. At trial, Gooding moved to qualify Ralph Sorensen, Jr., an emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic, as an expert in intubation. Hospital and Dr. Hood objected to qualifying Sorensen as an expert in intubation because Sorensen was not an anesthesiologist.

Outside the presence of the jury, Sorensen testified he was a certified paramedic and EMT, had intubated over one hundred patients, and instructs and tests physicians on intubation and extubation procedures. In explaining the proper procedure for intubating a patient, he testified the greatest risk during intubation is the fracturing of the front two teeth.

The trial judge ruled Sorensen was not qualified to testify as an expert witness. The trial judge specified:

... the necessary requirement for expert testimony, and particularly in malpractice cases, is of such a nature that the witness must have special expertise by way of training to compare with that of the physician who is defending the charges. In this case, even though the witness is somewhat trained in the mechanics of this medical assistance, he is not a medical doctor; he does not have the medical expertise required to testify under the circumstances of this case.

Gooding then proffered Sorensen's substantive testimony by introducing a videotape of Sorensen demonstrating, on a mannequin, the proper performance of intubation. During this videotape, Sorensen stated that medical personnel performing intubation sometimes use the teeth as a fulcrum because 1) they are not strong enough to lift the patient's tongue and epiglottis to expose the trachea, 2) they have an improper technique, 3) the patient's head is at a bad angle, or 4) the [326 S.C. 252] instrument used for intubation is not inserted far enough into the patient's mouth for leverage. Sorensen did not testify that Dr. Hood used Gooding's teeth as a fulcrum. The jury returned a verdict for Hospital and Dr. Hood.

The Court of Appeals held the trial judge should have qualified Sorensen as an expert witness in intubation. Additionally, the Court of Appeals held that Sorensen's testimony was necessary for Gooding to establish that Dr. Hood deviated from the standard of care. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that Sorensen's videotape demonstrating intubation procedures presented circumstantial

Page 598

evidence of how and when Gooding's teeth were chipped.
ISSUES

I. Did the Court of Appeals err by concluding the trial judge should have qualified Sorensen as an expert witness in the area of intubation?

II. Did the Court of Appeals err by concluding Sorensen's testimony presented evidence of Dr. Hood's deviation from the standard of care?

DISCUSSION

I.

Hospital and Dr. Hood argue that the Court of Appeals erred by concluding that Sorensen was qualified to testify as an expert witness because he was not familiar with the standard of care of...

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78 practice notes
  • Nelson v. QHG OF SOUTH CAROLINA INC., No. 3626.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 14, 2003
    ...288 S.C. 141, 341 S.E.2d 633 (1986); Botehlo v. Bycura, 282 S.C. 578, 320 S.E.2d 59 (Ct.App.1984). Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 487 S.E.2d 596 (1997), articulates the quintessential mandate thrust upon a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case. Gooding [T]he plaintiff ......
  • Williamson v. Middleton, No. 4243.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 7, 2007
    ...not reverse an award unless it is based on an error of law or is without any evidentiary support. See Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 252, 487 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1997) ("An abuse of discretion occurs when there is an error of law or a factual conclusion which is without evi......
  • State v. Douglas, No. 4075.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 23, 2006
    ...570 S.E.2d 176 (2002); Crawford v. Henderson, 356 S.C. 389, 589 S.E.2d 204 (Ct.App.2003); see also Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 252-53, 487 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1997) ("To be considered competent to testify as an expert, `a witness must have acquired by reason of study or ......
  • State v. White, No. 4196.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 16, 2007
    ...570 S.E.2d 176 (2002); Crawford v. Henderson, 356 S.C. 389, 589 S.E.2d 204 (Ct.App.2003); see also Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 252-53, 487 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1997) ("To be considered competent to testify as an expert, `a witness must have acquired by reason of study or ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
78 cases
  • Nelson v. QHG OF SOUTH CAROLINA INC., No. 3626.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 14, 2003
    ...288 S.C. 141, 341 S.E.2d 633 (1986); Botehlo v. Bycura, 282 S.C. 578, 320 S.E.2d 59 (Ct.App.1984). Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 487 S.E.2d 596 (1997), articulates the quintessential mandate thrust upon a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case. Gooding [T]he plaintiff ......
  • Williamson v. Middleton, No. 4243.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 7, 2007
    ...not reverse an award unless it is based on an error of law or is without any evidentiary support. See Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 252, 487 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1997) ("An abuse of discretion occurs when there is an error of law or a factual conclusion which is without evi......
  • State v. Douglas, No. 4075.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 23, 2006
    ...570 S.E.2d 176 (2002); Crawford v. Henderson, 356 S.C. 389, 589 S.E.2d 204 (Ct.App.2003); see also Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 252-53, 487 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1997) ("To be considered competent to testify as an expert, `a witness must have acquired by reason of study or ......
  • State v. White, No. 4196.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 16, 2007
    ...570 S.E.2d 176 (2002); Crawford v. Henderson, 356 S.C. 389, 589 S.E.2d 204 (Ct.App.2003); see also Gooding v. St. Francis Xavier Hosp., 326 S.C. 248, 252-53, 487 S.E.2d 596, 598 (1997) ("To be considered competent to testify as an expert, `a witness must have acquired by reason of study or ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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