Carde v. Ferreira
A court may deny a request for a new trial when no medical evidence exists that the defendant doctor in a failure-to-diagnose, medical-malpractice suit departed from the standard of medical care. Allegedly, the plaintiff mother informed the defendant pediatrician, when she took her 9-month-old baby for a routine visit, that the baby experienced a white glare in the eye. Eventually, the minor child lost his sight in that eye as a result of cancer. The plaintiff sued, alleging that the defendant failed to diagnose cancer of the eye and should have referred the minor child to an ophthalmologist. The defendant doctor testified that she conducted a proper eye exam. There was no evidence that a routine pediatric eye exam would have detected the infant's cancer of the eye, and the jury returned a verdict for the defendant doctor. The plaintiff moved to set aside the jury's verdict and for a new trial. Although the mother testified that the infant appeared to be sensitive to light during a family vacation in Florida, sensitivity to light does not constitute a symptom of cancer of the eye. The plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence that the defendant pediatrician should have diagnosed cancer of the eye or referred the minor child to an ophthalmologist. "There was no evidence presented by any physician," wrote the court, "that a normal pediatric examination would have revealed the existence of a potential retinoblastoma." The jury reasonably could have found that the plaintiff did not prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that she informed the defendant doctor that the baby experienced a white glare, and the court denied the plaintiff's motion to set aside and for a new trial.