Porucznik v. Spitz
A written medical opinion from a similar healthcare provider can provide a detailed basis, for purposes of Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a, even if the opinion does not explicitly mention the type of medical equipment used during surgery. Allegedly, the defendant gynecologist performed an operation that used equipment known as a "mesh" for the plaintiff's bladder, and afterward the plaintiff required additional surgery. The plaintiff sued the defendant doctor and hospital. The defendants moved to dismiss and argued that the medical opinion that accompanied the plaintiff's complaint did not include a detailed basis, because it did not explicitly refer to the medical equipment that was used, and it was not written by a similar healthcare provider. "The failure to provide a written opinion letter, or the attachment of a written opinion letter that does not comply with §52-190a, constitutes insufficient process and, thus, service of that insufficient process does not subject the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court," pursuant to Bennett v. New Milford Hospital Inc., a 2011 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Here, the Superior Court found that the medical opinion, written by a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, adequately opined that the defendants departed from the standard of care, because they allegedly neglected to perform the correct pre-operative tests and then performed the wrong surgery. The author of the written medical opinion obtained training in the same specialty as the defendant surgeon. "On the claim of vicarious liability," wrote the court, "the pre-litigation opinion is sufficient for the medical institution if it is sufficient for at least one agent or employee of the medical institution upon which the vicarious liability is claimed." Although the defendants argued that the medical opinion was insufficiently detailed, because it did not discuss the specific medical equipment, its conclusion that the defendants performed a "Sling" operation and failed to perform the correct operation were sufficient to indicate that the defendants used inappropriate medical equipment. "The opinion letter," wrote the court, "need not address the details of the specific device used simply because it was referenced within the complaint." The court denied the motion to dismiss.