Smith v. Knowles
281 N.W.2d 653 (Minn. 1979)
- Mrs. Smith was pregnant and suffering from a very serious
condition known as eclampsia. Dr. Knowles failed to diagnose the
condition or prescribe a drug to treat. Mrs. Smith died.
- Mr. Smith sued Dr. Knowles for medical malpractice.
- The Trial Court found for Knowles and dismissed the case.
- The Trial Court found that Smith failed to offer
sufficient expert evidence for the jury to consider claims of negligence
- The Appellate Court affirmed.
- The Appellate court found that in order to establish a prima
facie case for medical malpractice, the plaintiff must:
- Introduce expert testimony to show the appropriate standard
- Introduce expert testimony to show that the doctor
deviated from the standard of care.
- Show that the deviation directly resulted in the injury.
- Smith unsuccessfully attempted to prove the case by
direct examination of Dr. Knowles and by introducing medical texts into
- Smith introduced no evidence to suggest that if Dr.
Knowles had diagnosed the condition earlier, the outcome would have been
- Since you can't cross examine textbooks, they can't be
used to provide expert testimony. It's hearsay.