Pederson v. Gould, 22505

Decision Date25 February 1986
Docket NumberNo. 22505,22505
Citation288 S.C. 141,341 S.E.2d 633
PartiesFlorence L. PEDERSON and Gerald T. Pederson, Appellants, v. Stanley L. GOULD, M.D., Respondent. . Heard
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

David D. Armstrong, Greenville, for appellants.

G. Dewey Oxner, Jr., of Haynsworth, Perry, Bryant, Marion & Johnstone, Greenville, for respondent.

HARWELL, Justice:

The lower court consolidated the appellant wife's medical malpractice action and the appellant husband's action for loss of consortium and medical expenses. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the respondent doctor in both cases. We affirm.

The respondent gynecologist performed a vaginal hysterectomy on the wife. She subsequently developed problems. A gastroenterologist diagnosed a blockage of the ureter and referred the wife to a urologist to correct the problem. Subsequently, a cystoscope was performed and a stitch was found in or around her left ureter. The wife later underwent a second cystoscope and a ureteral reimplantation. The doctor admitted the surgical injury but denied any negligence.

At trial, the respondent doctor called a gynecologist as an expert witness. The appellants did not offer any expert testimony from a gynecologist. The urologist who treated the wife after her vaginal hysterectomy testified on the appellants' behalf.

As a general rule, expert testimony is required in medical malpractice actions. Green v. Lilliewood, 272 S.C. 186, 249 S.E.2d 910 (1978). Expert testimony is not required, however, in situations where the common knowledge or experience of laymen is extensive enough for them to be able to recognize or infer negligence on the part of the doctor and also to determine the presence of the required causal link between the doctor's actions and the patient's medical problems. King v. Williams, 276 S.C. 478, 279 S.E.2d 618 (1981); Green v. Lilliewood, supra. The appellant contends that the lower court erred in failing to include this "common knowledge" exception in its jury charge. We disagree.

To prevail in a medical malpractice suit, the plaintiff must present evidence sufficient to satisfy the two prong test set forth in Cox v. Lund, 286 S.C. 410, 334 S.E.2d 116 (1985). The plaintiff must "(1) Present evidence of the generally recognized practices and procedures which would be exercised by competent practitioners in a defendant doctor's field of medicine under the same or similar circumstances; AND (2) Present evidence that the defendant doctor departed from the recognized and generally accepted standards, practices and procedures in the manner alleged by the Plaintiff." Cox, 286 S.C. at ---, 334 S.E.2d at 118.

In medical malpractice actions, the plaintiff must use expert testimony to establish both the required standard of care and the defendant's failure to conform to that standard, unless the subject matter lies within the ambit of common knowledge and experience, so that no special learning is needed to evaluate the conduct of the defendant. Botehlo v. Bycura, 282 S.C. 578, 320 S.E.2d 59 (Ct.App.1984).

The disputed issue in this case is whether damage to the ureter which occurs during a hysterectomy falls under the common knowledge exception. Under the facts of the present case, we find that it does not. A vaginal hysterectomy is a...

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  • Nelson v. QHG OF SOUTH CAROLINA INC.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 14, 2003
    ...required to establish the relevant standard of care and a breach of the standard of care by expert witness testimony. Pederson v. Gould, 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 ......
  • Fields v. REGIONAL MED. CENTER ORANGEBURG
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 14, 2003
    ...common knowledge or experience. Bramlette v. Charter-Med.-Columbia, 302 S.C. 68, 72, 393 S.E.2d 914, 916 (1990); Pederson v. Gould, 288 S.C. 141, 142, 341 S.E.2d 633, 634 (1986); Green v. Lilliewood, 272 S.C. 186, 192, 249 S.E.2d 910, 913 (1978); Bonaparte, 291 S.C. at 434,354 S.E.2d at 45;......
  • Cianbro Corp. v. Jeffcoat and Martin
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • October 8, 1992
    ...common knowledge and experience, so that no special learning is needed to evaluate the conduct of the defendant." Pederson v. Gould, 288 S.C. 141, 341 S.E.2d 633, 634 (1986) (medical malpractice). This "common knowledge" exception applies in legal malpractice cases. Mali, 367 S.E.2d at 168.......
  • Holmes v. Haynsworth, Sinkler & Boyd, P.A.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • August 5, 2014
    ...the presence of the required causal link between the professional's performance and the alleged malpractice. Pederson v. Gould, 288 S.C. 141, 142, 341 S.E.2d 633, 634 (1986). Here, Appellant overestimates the legal knowledge of a layperson to understand the complex issues of her case, inclu......
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