Neurosurgeon’s Expert Opinions in Trial Against a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Were Admissible as Plaintiff Opened the Door on Cross Examination and Evidence Rule 601 Did Not Apply.

Marshall Dennehey

Waechter v. Laser Spine Institute, LLC, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 112022, 2023-Ohio-3715

The plaintiff brought an action against a certified registered nurse
anesthetist (CRNA), alleging she was negligent in hyperextending her neck during the induction of anesthesia during a laminotomy. The defense expert was a neurologist who testified on direct regarding causation.

The plaintiff appealed the defense verdict, seeking a new trial on the basis that the neurosurgeon was not qualified to render opinions on anesthesiology under Evidence Rule 601. The Appellate Court found no abuse of discretion or error by the trial court in allowing the CRNA’s expert witness to testify. Evidence Rule 601 did not apply because: (1) this was a claim against a CRNA, not a physician, podiatrist or hospital; and (2) the witness was called to testify as to causation, not liability. The neurosurgeon did testify as to liability on cross-examination, but the Invited Error Rule precluded the plaintiff from appealing his liability testimony on cross since it was the plaintiff who directed the expert to read portions of his report on cross-examination that were not discussed in direct.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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