Louisiana Medical Malpractice Statutes | Lake Charles Attorneys

Louisiana has a comprehensive set of laws which are relevant in Lake Charles Medical Malpractice cases. The most important of these laws have been listed below. For your convenience, explanations have been added where necessary. 

  1. What do I have to prove to win a Lake Charles Medical Malpractice case?
  2. What is a Louisiana Medical Review Panel?
  3. Do I have to consent to medical procedures in Louisiana?
  4. Do consent rules change in the case of an emergency?

If you have been hurt by a Lake Charles Surgeon, contact a Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Attorney today!


R.S. §2794. Physicians, dentists, optometrists, and chiropractic physicians; malpractice; burden of proof; jury charge; physician witness expert qualification

Summary:
In a Louisiana Medical Malpractice case, you will have to prove that the doctor or other medical professional who treated you did not live up to the degree of skill or knowledge that is normal in your community. You must also prove that you were hurt because of this failure to exercise the degree of care required. It is not enough that there was an injury. The injury must have been caused by a failure to use or possess the skills or knowledge required. This statute also lists the requirements for Medical Expert Witnesses in Lake Charles Medical Malpractice Trials.

Statute Text:

A. In a malpractice action based on the negligence of a physician licensed under R.S. 37:1261 et seq., a dentist licensed under R.S. 37:751 et seq., an optometrist licensed under R.S. 37:1041 et seq., or a chiropractic physician licensed under R.S. 37:2801 et seq., the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving:

(1) The degree of knowledge or skill possessed or the degree of care ordinarily exercised by physicians, dentists, optometrists, or chiropractic physicians licensed to practice in the state of Louisiana and actively practicing in a similar community or locale and under similar circumstances; and where the defendant practices in a particular specialty and where the alleged acts of medical negligence raise issues peculiar to the particular medical specialty involved, then the plaintiff has the burden of proving the degree of care ordinarily practiced by physicians, dentists, optometrists, or chiropractic physicians within the involved medical specialty.

(2) That the defendant either lacked this degree of knowledge or skill or failed to use reasonable care and diligence, along with his best judgment in the application of that skill.

(3) That as a proximate result of this lack of knowledge or skill or the failure to exercise this degree of care the plaintiff suffered injuries that would not otherwise have been incurred.

B. Any party to an action shall have the right to subpoena any physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor for a deposition or testimony for trial, or both, to establish the degree of knowledge or skill possessed or degree of care ordinarily exercised as described in Subsection A of this Section without obtaining the consent of the physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor who is going to be subpoenaed only if that physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor has or possesses special knowledge or experience in the specific medical procedure or process that forms the basis of the action. The fee of the physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractor called for deposition or testimony, or both, under this Subsection shall be set by the court.

C. In medical malpractice actions the jury shall be instructed that the plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, the negligence of the physician, dentist, optometrist, or chiropractic physician. The jury shall be further instructed that injury alone does not raise a presumption of the physician's, dentist's, optometrist's, or chiropractic physician's negligence. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to situations where the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is found by the court to be applicable.

D.(1) In a medical malpractice action against a physician, licensed to practice medicine by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners under R.S. 37:1261 et seq., for injury to or death of a patient, a person may qualify as an expert witness on the issue of whether the physician departed from accepted standards of medical care only if the person is a physician who meets all of the following criteria:

(a) He is practicing medicine at the time such testimony is given or was practicing medicine at the time the claim arose.

(b) He has knowledge of accepted standards of medical care for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of the illness, injury, or condition involved in the claim.

(c) He is qualified on the basis of training or experience to offer an expert opinion regarding those accepted standards of care.

(d) He is licensed to practice medicine by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners under R.S. 37:1261 et seq., is licensed to practice medicine by any other jurisdiction in the United States, or is a graduate of a medical school accredited by the American Medical Association's Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association.

(2) For the purposes of this Subsection, "practicing medicine" or "medical practice" includes but is not limited to training residents or students at an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy or serving as a consulting physician to other physicians who provide direct patient care, upon the request of such other physicians.

(3) In determining whether a witness is qualified on the basis of training or experience, the court shall consider whether, at the time the claim arose or at the time the testimony is given, the witness is board certified or has other substantial training or experience in an area of medical practice relevant to the claim and is actively practicing in that area.

(4) The court shall apply the criteria specified in Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this Subsection in determining whether a person is qualified to offer expert testimony on the issue of whether the physician departed from accepted standards of medical care.

(5) Nothing in this Subsection shall be construed to prohibit a physician from qualifying as an expert solely because he is a defendant in a medical malpractice claim.


Louisiana Medical Review Panel Statute

Summary:
Before going to trial, all Louisiana Medical Malpractice cases must go before a panel of three Doctor Medical Experts and an attorney. Each side chooses one of the doctors and they agree on the third. The panel's decision is not used in court. However, because the opinion of the panel is a good way to predict what would happen in court, cases often settle after the panel has decided.

§1299.47. Medical review panel

A.(1)(a) All malpractice claims against health care providers covered by this Part, other than claims validly agreed for submission to a lawfully binding arbitration procedure, shall be reviewed by a medical review panel established as hereinafter provided for in this Section. The filing of a request for review by a medical review panel as provided for in this Section shall not be reportable by any health care provider, the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, or any other entity to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, to any licensing authority, committee, or board of any other state, or to any credentialing or similar agency, committee, or board of any clinic, hospital, health insurer, or managed care company.

(b) A request for review of a malpractice claim or a malpractice complaint shall contain, at a minimum, all of the following: 

In Louisiana, a Judge decides whether to admit expert testimony. An experienced Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Firm can help you choose the right experts.

(i) A request for the formation of a medical review panel.

(ii) The name of the patient.

(iii) The names of the claimants.

(iv) The names of the defendant health care providers.

(v) The dates of the alleged malpractice.

(vi) A brief description of the alleged malpractice as to each named defendant health care provider.

(vii) A brief description of the alleged injuries.

(c) A claimant shall have forty-five days from the mailing date of the confirmation of receipt of the request for review in accordance with Subparagraph (3)(a) of this Subsection to pay to the board a filing fee in the amount of one hundred dollars per named defendant qualified under this Part.

(d) Such filing fee may be waived only upon receipt of one of the following:

(i) An affidavit of a physician holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice his specialty in the state of his residence certifying that adequate medical records have been obtained and reviewed and that the allegations of malpractice against each defendant health care provider named in the claim constitute a claim of a breach of the applicable standard of care as to each named defendant health care provider.

(ii) An in forma pauperis ruling issued in accordance with Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 5181 et seq. by a district court in a venue in which the malpractice claim could properly be brought upon the conclusion of the medical review panel process.

(e) Failure to comply with the provisions of Subparagraph (c) or (d) of this Paragraph within the specified forty-five day time frame in Subparagraph (c) of this Paragraph shall render the request for review of a malpractice claim invalid and without effect. Such an invalid request for review of a malpractice claim shall not suspend time within which suit must be instituted in Subparagraph (2)(a) of this Subsection.

(f) All funds generated by such filing fees shall be private monies and shall be applied to the costs of the Patient's Compensation Fund Oversight Board incurred in the administration of claims.

(g) The filing fee of one hundred dollars per named defendant qualified under this Part shall be applicable in the event that a claimant identifies additional qualified health care providers as defendants. The filing fee applicable to each identified qualified health care provider shall be due forty-five days from the mailing date of the confirmation of receipt of the request for review for the additional named defendants in accordance with R.S. 40:1299.47(A)(3)(a).

(2)(a) The filing of the request for a review of a claim shall suspend the time within which suit must be instituted, in accordance with this Part, until ninety days following notification, by certified mail, as provided in Subsection J of this Section, to the claimant or his attorney of the issuance of the opinion by the medical review panel, in the case of those health care providers covered by this Part, or in the case of a health care provider against whom a claim has been filed under the provisions of this Part, but who has not qualified under this Part, until ninety days following notification by certified mail to the claimant or his attorney by the board that the health care provider is not covered by this Part. The filing of a request for review of a claim shall suspend the running of prescription against all joint and solidary obligors, and all joint tortfeasors, including but not limited to health care providers, both qualified and not qualified, to the same extent that prescription is suspended against the party or parties that are the subject of the request for review. Filing a request for review of a malpractice claim as required by this Section with any agency or entity other than the division of administration shall not suspend or interrupt the running of prescription. All requests for review of a malpractice claim identifying additional health care providers shall also be filed with the division of administration.

(b) The request for review of a malpractice claim under this Section shall be deemed filed on the date of receipt of the request stamped and certified by the division of administration or on the date of mailing of the request if mailed to the division of administration by certified or registered mail only upon timely compliance with the provisions of Subparagraph (1)(c) or (d) of this Subsection. Upon receipt of any request, the division of administration shall forward a copy of the request to the board within five days of receipt.

(c) An attorney chairman for the medical review panel shall be appointed within one year from the date the request for review of the claim was filed. Upon appointment of the attorney chairman, the parties shall notify the board of the name and address of the attorney chairman. If the board has not received notice of the appointment of an attorney chairman within nine months from the date the request for review of the claim was filed, then the board shall send notice to the parties by certified or registered mail that the claim will be dismissed in ninety days unless an attorney chairman is appointed within one year from the date the request for review of the claim was filed. If the board has not received notice of the appointment of an attorney chairman within one year from the date the request for review of the claim was filed, then the board shall promptly send notice to the parties by certified or registered mail that the claim has been dismissed for failure to appoint an attorney chairman and the parties shall be deemed to have waived the use of the medical review panel. The filing of a request for a medical review panel shall suspend the time within which suit must be filed until ninety days after the claim has been dismissed in accordance with this Section.

(3) It shall be the duty of the board within fifteen days of the receipt of the claim by the board to:

(a) Confirm to the claimant by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the filing has been officially received and whether or not the named defendant or defendants have qualified under this Part.

(b) In the confirmation to the claimant pursuant to Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph, notify the claimant of the amount of the filing fee due and the time frame within which such fee is due to the board, and that upon failure to comply with the provisions of Subparagraph (1)(c) or (d) of this Subsection, the request for review of a malpractice claim is invalid and without effect and that the request shall not suspend the time within which suit must be instituted in Subparagraph (2)(a) of this Subsection.

(c) Notify all named defendants by certified mail, return receipt requested, whether or not qualified under the provisions of this Part, that a filing has been made against them and request made for the formation of a medical review panel; and forward a copy of the proposed complaint to each named defendant at his last and usual place of residence or his office.

(4) The board shall notify the claimant and all named defendants by certified mail, return receipt requested, of any of the following information:

(a) The date of receipt of the filing fee.

(b) That no filing was due because the claimant timely provided the affidavit set forth in Item (1)(d)(i) of this Subsection.

(c) That the claimant has timely complied with the provisions of Item (1)(d)(ii) of this Subsection.

(d) That the required filing fee was not timely paid pursuant to Subparagraph (1)(c) of this Subsection.

(5) In the event that any notification by certified mail, return receipt requested, provided for in Paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Subsection is not claimed or is returned undeliverable, the board shall provide such notification by regular first class mail, which date of mailing shall have the effect of receipt of notice by certified mail.

B.(1)(a)(i) No action against a health care provider covered by this Part, or his insurer, may be commenced in any court before the claimant's proposed complaint has been presented to a medical review panel established pursuant to this Section.

(ii) A certificate of enrollment issued by the board shall be admitted in evidence.

(b) However, with respect to an act of malpractice which occurs after September 1, 1983, if an opinion is not rendered by the panel within twelve months after the date of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman by the executive director to the selected attorney and all other parties pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection C of this Section, suit may be instituted against a health care provider covered by this Part. However, either party may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order extending the twelve month period provided in this Subsection for good cause shown. After the twelve month period provided for in this Subsection or any court-ordered extension thereof, the medical review panel established to review the claimant's complaint shall be dissolved without the necessity of obtaining a court order of dissolution.

(c) By agreement of all parties, the use of the medical review panel may be waived.

(d) By agreement of all parties and upon written request to the attorney chairman, an expedited medical review panel process may be selected. Unless otherwise specified in the provisions of Subsection N of this Section, the expedited process shall be governed by other provisions of this Section.

(2)(a) A health care provider, against whom a claim has been filed under the provisions of this Part, may raise any exception or defenses available pursuant to R.S. 9:5628 in a court of competent jurisdiction and proper venue at any time without need for completion of the review process by the medical review panel.

(b) If the court finds that the claim had prescribed or otherwise was perempted prior to being filed, the panel, if established, shall be dissolved.

(3) Ninety days after the notification to all parties by certified mail by the attorney chairman of the board of the dissolution of the medical review panel or ninety days after the expiration of any court-ordered extension as authorized by Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, the suspension of the running of prescription with respect to a qualified health care provider shall cease.

C. The medical review panel shall consist of three health care providers who hold unlimited licenses to practice their profession in Louisiana and one attorney. The parties may agree on the attorney member of the medical review panel. If no attorney for or representative of any health care provider named in the complaint has made an appearance in the proceedings or made written contact with the attorney for the plaintiff within forty-five days of the date of receipt of the notification to the health care provider and the insurer that the required filing fee has been received by the patient's compensation board as required by R.S. 40:1299.47(A)(1)(c), the attorney for the plaintiff may appoint the attorney member of the medical review panel for the purpose of convening the panel. Such notice to the health care provider and the insurer shall be sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. If no agreement can be reached, then the attorney member of the medical review panel shall be selected in the following manner:

(1)(a) The office of the clerk of the Louisiana Supreme Court, upon receipt of notification from the board, shall draw five names at random from the list of attorneys who reside or maintain an office in the parish which would be proper venue for the action in a court of law. The names of judges, magistrates, district attorneys and assistant district attorneys shall be excluded if drawn and new names drawn in their place. After selection of the attorney names, the office of the clerk of the supreme court shall notify the board of the names so selected. It shall be the duty of the board to notify the parties of the attorney names from which the parties may choose the attorney member of the panel within five days. If no agreement can be reached within five days, the parties shall immediately initiate a procedure of selecting the attorney by each striking two names alternately, with the claimant striking first and so advising the health care provider of the name of the attorney so stricken; thereafter, the health care provider and the claimant shall alternately strike until both sides have stricken two names and the remaining name shall be the attorney member of the panel. If either the plaintiff or defendant fails to strike, the clerk of the Louisiana Supreme Court shall strike for that party within five additional days.

(b) After the striking, the office of the board shall notify the attorney and all other parties of the name of the selected attorney.

(2) The attorney shall act as chairman of the panel and in an advisory capacity but shall have no vote. It is the duty of the chairman to expedite the selection of the other panel members, to convene the panel, and expedite the panel's review of the proposed complaint. The chairman shall establish a reasonable schedule for submission of evidence to the medical review panel but must allow sufficient time for the parties to make full and adequate presentation of related facts and authorities within ninety days following selection of the panel.

(3)(a) The plaintiff shall notify the attorney chairman and the named defendants of his choice of a health care provider member of the medical review panel within thirty days of the date of certification of his filing by the board.

(b) The named defendant shall then have fifteen days after notification by the plaintiff of the plaintiff's choice of his health care provider panelist to name the defendant's health care provider panelist.

(c) If either the plaintiff or defendant fails to make a selection of health care provider panelist within the time provided, the attorney chairman shall notify by certified mail the failing party to make such selection within five days of the receipt of the notice.

(d) If no selection is made within the five day period, then the chairman shall make the selection on behalf of the failing party. The two health care provider panel members selected by the parties or on their behalf shall be notified by the chairman to select the third health care provider panel member within fifteen days of their receipt of such notice.

(e) If the two health care provider panel members fail to make such selection within the fifteen day period allowed, the chairman shall then make the selection of the third panel member and thereby complete the panel.

(f) A physician who holds an unrestricted license to practice medicine by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and who is engaged in the active practice of medicine in this state, whether in the teaching profession or otherwise, shall be available for selection as a member of a medical review panel.

(g) Each party to the action shall have the right to select one health care provider and upon selection the health care provider shall be required to serve.

(h) When there are multiple plaintiffs or defendants, there shall be only one health care provider selected per side. The plaintiff, whether single or multiple, shall have the right to select one health care provider, and the defendant, whether single or multiple, shall have the right to select one health care provider.

(i) A panelist so selected and the attorney member selected in accordance with this Subsection shall serve unless for good cause shown may be excused. To show good cause for relief from serving, the panelist shall present an affidavit to a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction and proper venue which shall set out the facts showing that service would constitute an unreasonable burden or undue hardship. A health care provider panelist may also be excused from serving by the attorney chairman if during the previous twelve-month period he has been appointed to four other medical review panels. In either such event, a replacement panelist shall be selected within fifteen days in the same manner as the excused panelist.

(j) If there is only one party defendant which is not a hospital, community blood center, tissue bank, or ambulance service, all panelists except the attorney shall be from the same class and specialty of practice of health care provider as the defendant. If there is only one party defendant which is a hospital, community blood center, tissue bank, or ambulance service, all panelists except the attorney shall be physicians. If there are claims against multiple defendants, one or more of whom are health care providers other than a hospital, community blood center, tissue bank, or ambulance service, the panelists selected in accordance with this Subsection may also be selected from health care providers who are from the same class and specialty of practice of health care providers as are any of the defendants other than a hospital, community blood center, tissue bank, or ambulance service.

(4) When the medical review panel is formed, the chairman shall within five days notify the board and the parties by registered or certified mail of the names and addresses of the panel members and the date on which the last member was selected.

(5) Before entering upon their duties, each voting panelist shall subscribe before a notary public the following oath:

"I, (name) do solemnly swear/affirm that I will faithfully perform the duties of medical review panel member to the best of my ability and without partiality or favoritism of any kind. I acknowledge that I represent neither side and that it is my lawful duty to serve with complete impartiality and to render a decision in accordance with law and the evidence."

The attorney panel member shall subscribe to the same oath except that in lieu of the last sentence thereof the attorney's oath shall state:

"I acknowledge that I represent neither side and that it is my lawful duty to advise the panel members concerning matters of law and procedure and to serve as chairman."

The original of each oath shall be attached to the opinion rendered by the panel.

(6) The party aggrieved by the alleged failure or refusal of another to perform according to the provisions of this Section may petition any district court of proper venue over the parties for an order directing that the parties comply with the medical review panel provisions of the medical malpractice act.

(7) A panelist or a representative or attorney for any interested party shall not discuss with other members of a medical review panel on which he serves a claim which is to be reviewed by the panel until all evidence to be considered by the panel has been submitted. A panelist or a representative or attorney for any interested party shall not discuss the pending claim with the claimant or his attorney asserting the claim or with a health care provider or his attorney against whom a claim has been asserted under this Section. A panelist or the attorney chairman shall disclose in writing to the parties prior to the hearing any employment relationship or financial relationship with the claimant, the health care provider against whom a claim is asserted, or the attorneys representing the claimant or health care provider, or any other relationship that might give rise to a conflict of interest for the panelists.

D.(1) The evidence to be considered by the medical review panel shall be promptly submitted by the respective parties in written form only.

(2) The evidence may consist of medical charts, x-rays, lab tests, excerpts of treatises, depositions of witnesses including parties, interrogatories, affidavits and reports of medical experts, and any other form of evidence allowable by the medical review panel.

(3) Depositions of the parties and witnesses may be taken prior to the convening of the panel.

(4) Upon request of any party, or upon request of any two panel members, the clerk of any district court shall issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum in aid of the taking of depositions and the production of documentary evidence for inspection and/or copying.

(5) The chairman of the panel shall advise the panel relative to any legal question involved in the review proceeding and shall prepare the opinion of the panel as provided in Subsection G.

(6) A copy of the evidence shall be sent to each member of the panel.

E. Either party, after submission of all evidence and upon ten days notice to the other side, shall have the right to convene the panel at a time and place agreeable to the members of the panel. Either party may question the panel concerning any matters relevant to issues to be decided by the panel before the issuance of their report. The chairman of the panel shall preside at all meetings. Meetings shall be informal.

F. The panel shall have the right and duty to request and procure all necessary information. The panel may consult with medical authorities, provided the names of such authorities are submitted to the parties with a synopsis of their opinions and provided further that the parties may then obtain their testimony by deposition. The panel may examine reports of such other health care providers necessary to fully inform itself regarding the issue to be decided. Both parties shall have full access to any material submitted to the panel.

G. The panel shall have the sole duty to express its expert opinion as to whether or not the evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant or defendants acted or failed to act within the appropriate standards of care. After reviewing all evidence and after any examination of the panel by counsel representing either party, the panel shall, within thirty days, render one or more of the following expert opinions, which shall be in writing and signed by the panelists, together with written reasons for their conclusions:

(1) The evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant or defendants failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged in the complaint.

(2) The evidence does not support the conclusion that the defendant or defendants failed to meet the applicable standard of care as charged in the complaint.

(3) That there is a material issue of fact, not requiring expert opinion, bearing on liability for consideration by the court.

(4) When Paragraph (1) of this Subsection is answered in the affirmative, that the conduct complained of was or was not a factor of the resultant damages. If such conduct was a factor, whether the plaintiff suffered: (a) any disability and the extent and duration of the disability, and (b) any permanent impairment and the percentage of the impairment.

H. Any report of the expert opinion reached by the medical review panel shall be admissible as evidence in any action subsequently brought by the claimant in a court of law, but such expert opinion shall not be conclusive and either party shall have the right to call, at his cost, any member of the medical review panel as a witness. If called, the witness shall be required to appear and testify. A panelist shall have absolute immunity from civil liability for all communications, findings, opinions and conclusions made in the course and scope of duties prescribed by this Part.

I.(1)(a) Each physician member of the medical review panel shall be paid at the rate of twenty-five dollars per diem, not to exceed a total of three hundred dollars for all work performed as a member of the panel exclusive of time involved if called as a witness to testify in a court of law regarding the communications, findings, and conclusions made in the course and scope of duties as a member of the medical review panel, and in addition thereto, reasonable travel expenses.

(b) The attorney chairman of the medical review panel shall be paid at the rate of one hundred dollars per diem, not to exceed a total of two thousand dollars for all work performed as a member of the panel exclusive of time involved if called as a witness to testify in a court of law regarding the communications, findings, and conclusions made in the course and scope of duties as a member of the medical review panel, and in addition thereto, reasonable travel expenses. Additionally, the attorney chairman shall be reimbursed for all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in performing his duties for each medical review panel. The attorney chairman shall submit the amount due him for all work performed as a member of the panel by affidavit, which shall attest that he has performed in the capacity of chairman of the medical review panel and that he was personally present at all the panel's meetings or deliberations.

(2)(a) The costs of the medical review panel shall be paid by the health care provider if the opinion of the medical review panel is in favor of said defendant health care provider.

(b) The claimant shall pay the costs of the medical review panel if the opinion of the medical review panel is in favor of the claimant. However, if the claimant is unable to pay, the claimant shall submit to the attorney chairman prior to the convening of the medical review panel an in forma pauperis ruling issued in accordance with Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 5181 et seq. by a district court in a venue in which the malpractice claim could properly be brought upon the conclusion of the medical review panel process. Upon timely receipt of the in forma pauperis ruling, the costs of the medical review panel shall be paid by the health care provider, with the proviso that if the claimant subsequently receives a settlement or receives a judgment, the advance payment of the medical review panel costs will be offset.

(c) In a medical malpractice suit filed by the claimant in which a unanimous opinion was rendered in favor of the defendant health care provider as provided in the expert opinion stated in Paragraph (G)(2) of this Section, the claimant who proceeds to file such a suit shall be required to post a cash or surety bond, approved by the court, in the amount of all costs of the medical review panel. Upon the conclusion of the medical malpractice suit, the court shall order that the cash or surety bond be forfeited to the defendant health care provider for reimbursement of the costs of the medical review panel, unless a final judgment is rendered finding the defendant liable to the claimant for any damages. If a final judgment is rendered finding the defendant liable to the claimant for any damages, the court shall order that the defendant health care provider reimburse the claimant an amount equal to the cost of obtaining the cash or surety bond posted by the claimant.

(d) In the event a medical review panel renders a unanimous opinion in favor of the claimant as provided in the expert opinions stated in Paragraphs (G)(1) and (4) of this Section, and the claimant has not timely submitted an in forma pauperis ruling to the panel's attorney chairman, and thereafter the defendant health care provider failed to settle the claim with the claimant resulting in the claimant filing a malpractice suit in a court of competent jurisdiction and proper venue against the defendant health care provider based on the same claim which was the subject of the unanimously adverse medical review panel opinion against the defendant health care provider, the defendant health care provider shall be required to post a cash or surety bond, approved by the court, in the amount of all costs of the medical review panel. Upon the conclusion of the medical malpractice suit, the court shall order that the cash or surety bond be forfeited to the claimant for reimbursement of the costs of the medical review panel, unless a final judgment is rendered finding that the defendant health care provider has no liability for damages to the claimant. If a final judgment is rendered finding that the defendant health care provider has no liability for damages to the claimant, the court shall order that the claimant reimburse the defendant health care provider an amount equal to the cost of obtaining the cash or surety bond posted by the defendant health care provider.

(3) If the medical review panel decides that there is a material issue of fact bearing on liability for consideration by the court, the claimant and the health care provider shall split the costs of the medical review panel. However, in those instances in which the claimant is unable to pay his share of the costs of the medical review panel, the claimant shall submit to the attorney chairman prior to the convening of the medical review panel an in forma pauperis ruling issued in accordance with Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 5181 et seq., by a district court in a venue in which the malpractice claim could properly be brought upon the conclusion of the medical review panel process. Upon timely receipt of the in forma pauperis ruling, the costs of the medical review panel shall be paid by the defendant health care provider with the proviso that if the claimant subsequently receives a settlement or receives a judgment, the advance payment of the claimant's share of the costs of the medical review panel will be offset.

(4) Upon the rendering of the written panel decision, if any one of the panelists finds that the evidence supports the conclusion that a defendant health care provider failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged in the complaint, each defendant health care provider as to whom such a determination was made shall reimburse to the claimant that portion of the filing fee applicable to the claim against such defendant health care provider or if any one of the panelists finds that the evidence supports the conclusion that there is a material issue of fact, not requiring expert opinion, bearing on liability of such defendant health care provider for consideration by the court, each such defendant health care provider as to whom such a determination was made shall reimburse to the claimant fifty percent of that portion of the filing fee applicable to the claim against such defendant health care provider.

J. The chairman shall submit a copy of the panel's report to the board and all parties and attorneys by registered or certified mail within five days after the panel renders its opinion.

K. Repealed by Acts 2005, No. 127, §2.

L. Where the medical review panel issues its opinion required by this Section, the suspension of the running of prescription shall not cease until ninety days following notification by certified mail to the claimant or his attorney of the issuance of the opinion as required by Subsection J of this Section.

M. Legal interest shall accrue from the date of filing of the complaint with the board on a judgment rendered by a court in a suit for medical malpractice brought after compliance with this Part.

N.(1)(a)(i) Parties seeking an expedited panel process pursuant to the provisions of Subparagraph (B)(1)(d) of this Section shall request such process in writing sixty days from the date of the letter of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection C of this Section. When a written request for an expedited medical review panel process has been made to the attorney chairman, the chairman shall establish a schedule for submission of evidence to the medical review panel within ninety days following selection of the third physician member of the panel so that a panel opinion is rendered within twelve months of the date of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman.

(ii) In accordance with Subsection J of this Section, the chairman shall submit a copy of the panel's report to the board and all parties and attorneys by registered or certified mail within five days after the panel renders its opinion. In accordance with Subsection L of this Section, where the medical review panel issues its opinion required by this Section, the suspension of the running of prescription shall not cease until ninety days following notification by certified mail to the claimant or his attorney of the issuance of the opinion as required by Subsection J of this Section.

(b)(i) No party may petition a court for an order extending the twelve month period provided in Subparagraph (B)(1)(b) of this Section. If an opinion is not rendered by the panel within the twelve month period established in this Subsection, suit may be instituted against the health care provider.

(ii) In accordance with R.S. 40:1299.47(B)(1)(b), after the twelve month period provided for in this Subsection, the medical review panel established to review the claimant's complaint shall be dissolved without the necessity of obtaining a court order of dissolution.

(iii) In accordance with R.S. 40:1299.47(B)(3), ninety days after the notification to all parties by certified mail by the attorney chairman of the board of the dissolution of the medical review panel, the suspension of the running of prescription with respect to a qualified health care provider shall cease.

(2) During selection of the physician members of the medical review panel, the plaintiff shall notify the attorney chairman and the named defendants of his choice of a health care provider member of the medical review panel within ten days of the date of written request to the chairman for an expedited panel process. The named defendant shall then have five days after notification by the plaintiff of the plaintiff's choice of his health care provider panelist to name the defendant's health care provider panelist. If no selection is made within the five and ten day respective periods, then the chairman shall make the selection on behalf of the failing party. The two health care provider panel members selected by the parties or on their behalf shall be notified by the chairman to select the third health care provider panel member within fifteen days of their receipt of such notice from the chairman to make the selection. If no selection is made within the fifteen day period, then the chairman shall make the selection on behalf of the two health care provider panel members.

(3)(a) Within thirty days of the parties' written request for an expedited medical review panel process to the attorney chairman, the claimant shall provide all defendants with a list of the names and addresses of all known health care providers, including individuals and entities, who have treated the patient during the time period starting from three years prior to the date of the alleged malpractice up to and including the date that the list is provided. The claimant shall make a good faith effort to identify the treating health care providers.

(b) The claimant shall execute and provide all defendants with a HIPAA Compliant Authorization form to permit the defendants to obtain the medical records.

(c) An order to protect the medical records may be sought as provided in Code of Civil Procedure Article 1426 or the HIPAA regulations at 45 CFR 164.512(e) in a court of competent jurisdiction and proper venue.

(d) If an authorization is not provided or a protective order is not obtained within thirty days following the written request by the parties to the chairman for an expedited medical review panel process, the medical review panel shall lose its expedited status and no longer be governed by the provisions of this Subsection. The attorney chairman shall provide notice of this to the board and all parties by registered or certified mail.

(4)(a) The evidence to be considered by the medical review panel shall be promptly submitted by the respective parties in written form only, according to the schedule established by the chairman.

(b) The evidence may consist only of medical charts, x-rays or other film studies, lab tests, other diagnostic or medical tests, and a position paper submitted by or on behalf of each party.

(c) Neither interrogatories to nor depositions of the parties and witnesses may be taken prior to the convening of the panel.

(d) No party or panel member shall be permitted to request the clerk of any district court to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum in aid of the taking of depositions and the production of documentary evidence. However, if a copy of the medical record is not produced by a health care provider within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed fifteen days, following a health care provider’s receipt of a medical authorization executed by the claimant pursuant to Subparagraph (3)(b) of this Subsection then the party who forwarded the authorization to the health care provider may request the clerk of any district court to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum in aid of the production of the medical records.

(5) The attorney chairman, after submission of all evidence and upon ten days notice, shall convene the panel at a time and place agreeable to the members of the panel, but in no event shall the opinion be rendered later than twelve months from the date of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman by the executive director to the selected attorney and all other parties pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection C of this Section. Either party may informally question the panel concerning any matters relevant to issues to be decided by the panel before and after the issuance of their report. The panel deliberation and the questioning of the panel shall not be recorded. The chairman of the panel shall preside at all meetings.

(6) The panel shall have the sole duty to express its expert opinion as to whether or not the evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant or defendants acted or failed to act within the appropriate standards of care. After reviewing all evidence and after any examination of the panel by counsel representing either party, the panel shall, within thirty days, but in no event later than twelve months of the date of notification of the selection of the attorney chairman pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection C of this Section, render one or more of the following expert opinions, which shall be in writing and signed by the panelists, together with written reasons for their conclusions:

(a) The evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant or defendants failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged in the complaint.

(b) The evidence does not support the conclusion that the defendant or defendants failed to meet the applicable standard of care as charged in the complaint.

(c) That there is a material issue of fact, not requiring expert opinion, bearing on liability for consideration by the court.

(7) The report of the expert opinion reached by the expedited medical review panel process pursuant to the provisions of this Subsection shall not be admissible as evidence in any action subsequently brought by the claimant in a court of law. Neither party shall have the right to call any member of the medical review panel as a witness. A panelist shall have absolute immunity from civil liability for all communications, findings, opinions and conclusions made in the course and scope of duties prescribed by this Part.

(8) The provisions of Subparagraphs (I)(2)(c) and (d) of this Section shall not apply to a medical review panel governed by the expedited medical review panel process.


§1299.40.  Consent to medical treatment; exception; availability of lists to establish necessity and degree

Summary:
A physician must inform you of the risks and hazard of a procedure. If he does not, you can only sue for the negligent act of not informing you. This is separate from malpractice. 

Statute Text:

A.(1)  Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, written consent to medical treatment means the voluntary permission of a patient, through signature, marking, or affirmative action through electronic means pursuant to R.S. 40:1299.40.1, to any medical or surgical procedure or course of procedures which sets forth in general terms the nature and purpose of the procedure or procedures, together with the known risks, if any, of death, brain damage, quadriplegia, paraplegia, the loss or loss of function of any organ or limb, of disfiguring scars associated with such procedure or procedures; acknowledges that such disclosure of information has been made and that all questions asked about the procedure or procedures have been answered in a satisfactory manner; and is evidenced by a signature, marking, or affirmative action through electronic means, by the patient for whom the procedure is to be performed, or if the patient for any reason lacks legal capacity to consent, by a person who has legal authority to consent on behalf of such patient in such circumstances.  Such consent shall be presumed to be valid and effective, in the absence of proof that execution of the consent was induced by misrepresentation of material facts.

(2)  In addition to the information required to be disclosed in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, where the medical treatment involves the surgical implantation of "Norplant" contraceptive devices, the explanation to the patient shall include the known and significant or other material risks, the known adverse results, and alternative methods of contraception.

B.  Except as provided in Subsection A of this Section, no evidence shall be admissible to modify or limit the authorization for performance of the procedure or procedures set forth in such consent.

C.  Where consent to medical treatment from a patient, or from a person authorized by law to consent to medical treatment for such patient, is secured other than in accordance with Subsection A above, the explanation to the patient or to the person consenting for such patient shall include the matters set forth in Paragraph (1) of Subsection A above, and an opportunity shall be afforded for asking questions concerning the procedures to be performed which shall be answered in a satisfactory manner.  Such consent shall be valid and effective and is subject to proof according to the rules of evidence in ordinary cases.

D.(1)  Notwithstanding this Section or any other law to the contrary, whenever it is determined by the hospital infection control committee or equivalent body that an agent or employee of a hospital, or a physician having privileges at the hospital, has been exposed to the blood or bodily fluids of a patient, in such a manner as to create any risk that the agent, employee, or physician may become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or other infectious agent if the patient is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or other infectious agent, in accordance with the infectious disease exposure guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control or the infectious disease exposure standards of the health care facility where the exposure occurred, then the hospital infection control committee may, without the consent of the patient, conduct such tests on blood previously drawn or body fluids previously collected as are necessary to determine whether the patient is, in fact, infected with the virus or other agent believed to cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome or other infectious disease.  If no previously drawn blood or collected bodily fluids are available or are suitable, the hospital may order, without the consent of the patient, that blood, bodily fluids, or both be drawn and collected from the patient to conduct the necessary tests.

(2)  Notwithstanding this Section or any other law to the contrary, whenever it is determined by the infectious disease control officer of any law enforcement, fire service, or emergency medical service agency or organization that an agent or employee of the agency or organization has been exposed to the blood or bodily fluids of a patient while rendering emergency medical services, transporting, or treating an ill or injured patient in such a manner as to create any risk that the agent or employee may become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or other infectious agent if the patient is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or other infectious agent, in accordance with the infectious disease exposure guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control or the infectious disease exposure standards of the agency or organization, then the infectious disease control officer of the agency or organization may present the facts to the infection control committee of the hospital or other health care facility to which the patient has been transported.  If the hospital infection control committee agrees that there has been a potential exposure to the agency or organization personnel, then the hospital infection control committee may, while the patient is in such hospital and without the consent of the patient, conduct such tests as are provided for in R.S. 40:1299.40(D)(1).

(3)  The results of the test shall not become a part of the patient's medical record and shall be confidential, except that the hospital may inform the exposed employee, agent, or physician, or the infectious disease control officer of the law enforcement, fire service, or emergency medical service agency of the results of the test.

(4)  In the event that the test is performed, and the results of the test are positive, the hospital shall inform the patient of the results and shall provide such follow-up testing and counseling as may be required according to the accepted standard of medical care.

(5)  The patient shall not be charged for any tests performed under this Subsection.

(6)  Nothing herein shall be construed to require the hospital to perform the test described herein.

E.(1)  As used in this Subsection, "secretary" means the secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals.

(2)(a)  In a suit against a physician or other health care provider involving a health care liability or medical malpractice claim which is based on the failure of the physician or other health care provider to disclose or adequately to disclose the risks and hazards involved in the medical care or surgical procedure rendered by the physician or other health care provider, the only theory on which recovery may be obtained is that of negligence in failing to disclose the risks or hazards that could have influenced a reasonable person in making a decision to give or withhold consent.

(b)  Consent to medical treatment may be evidenced according to the provisions of Subsections A and C of this Section or, as an alternative, a physician or other health care provider may choose to avail himself of the lists established by the secretary pursuant to the provisions of this Subsection as another method by which to evidence a patient's consent to medical treatment.

(3)  The secretary shall determine which risks and hazards related to medical care and surgical procedures must be disclosed by a physician or other health care provider to a patient or person authorized to consent for a patient and to establish the general form and substance of such disclosure.

(4)(a)  To the extent feasible, the secretary shall identify and make a thorough examination of all medical treatments and surgical procedures in which physicians and other health care providers may be involved in order to determine which of those treatments and procedures do and do not require disclosure of the risks and hazards to the patient or person authorized to consent for the patient.

(b)  The secretary shall prepare separate lists of those medical treatments and surgical procedures that do and do not require disclosure and for those treatments and procedures that do require disclosure shall establish the degree of disclosure required and the form in which the disclosure will be made.

(c)  Lists prepared under Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph together with written explanations of the degree and form of disclosure shall be promulgated according to the Administrative Procedure Act.  The form of the disclosure and manner in which such disclosure will be made shall be subject to legislative oversight by the House and Senate health and welfare committees.  The lists compiled and published and rules promulgated relative to the form and manner of disclosure according to the provisions of this Subsection and evidence of such disclosures or failure to disclose by a physician or other health care provider as provided in Paragraphs (5) and (6) of this Subsection shall be admissible in a health care liability suit or medical malpractice claim involving medical care rendered or a surgical procedure performed on or after March 1, 1991.

(d)  At least annually, or at such other period as the secretary may determine, the secretary shall identify and examine any new medical treatments and surgical procedures that have been developed since its last determinations, shall assign them to the proper list, and shall establish the degree of disclosure required and the form in which the disclosure shall be made.  The secretary shall also review and examine such treatments and procedures for the purpose of revising lists previously published.  These determinations shall be published in the same manner as described in Subparagraph (c) of this Paragraph.

(5)  Before a patient or a person authorized to consent for a patient gives consent to any medical or surgical procedure that appears on the list requiring disclosure, the physician or other health care provider shall disclose to the patient, or person authorized to consent for the patient, the risks and hazards involved in that kind of care or procedure.  A physician or other health care provider may choose to utilize the lists prepared by the secretary and shall be considered to have complied with the requirements of this Subsection if disclosure is made as provided in Paragraph (6) of this Subsection.

(6)  Consent to medical care that appears on the secretary's list requiring disclosure shall be considered effective under this Subsection, if it is given by the patient or a person authorized to give the consent and by a competent witness, and if the consent specifically states, in such terms and language that a layman would be expected to understand, the risks and hazards that are involved in the medical care or surgical procedure in the form and to the degree required by the secretary under Paragraph (4) of this Subsection.

(7)(a)  In a suit against a physician or other health care provider involving a health care liability or medical malpractice claim which is based on the negligent failure of the physician or other health care provider to disclose or adequately to disclose the risks and hazards involved in the medical care or surgical procedure rendered by the physician or other health care provider:

(i)  Both the disclosure made as provided in Paragraph (5) of this Subsection and the failure to disclose based on inclusion of any medical care or surgical procedure on the secretary's list for which disclosure is not required shall be admissible in evidence and shall create a rebuttable presumption that the requirements of Paragraphs (5) and (6) of this Subsection have been complied with, and this presumption shall be included in the charge to the jury; and

(ii)  The failure to disclose the risks and hazards involved in any medical care or surgical procedure required to be disclosed under Paragraphs (5) and (6) of this Subsection shall be admissible in evidence and shall create a rebuttable presumption of a negligent failure to conform to the duty of disclosure set forth in Paragraphs (5) and (6) of this Subsection, and this presumption shall be included in the charge to the jury; but failure to disclose may be found not to be negligent, if there was an emergency as defined in R.S. 40:2113.6(C) or, if for some other reason, it was not medically feasible to make a disclosure of the kind that would otherwise have been negligence.

(b)  If medical care is rendered or a surgical procedure performed with respect to which the secretary has not made a determination regarding a duty of disclosure, the physician or other health care provider is under the general duty to disclose otherwise imposed by this Section.

(c)  In order to be covered by the provisions of this Subsection, the physician or other health care provider who will actually perform the contemplated medical or surgical procedure shall:

(i)  Disclose the risks and hazards in the form and to the degree required by the secretary;

(ii)  Disclose additional risks, if any, particular to a patient because of a complicating medical condition, either told to the physician or other health care provider by the patient or his representative in a medical history of the patient or reasonably discoverable by such physician or other health care provider;

(iii)  Disclose reasonable therapeutic alternatives and risks associated with such alternatives;

(iv)  Relate that he is obtaining a consent to medical treatment pursuant to the lists formulated by the secretary; and

(v)  Provide an opportunity to ask any questions about the contemplated medical or surgical procedure, risks, or alternatives and acknowledge in writing that he answered such questions, to the patient or other person authorized to give consent to medical treatment, receipt of which shall be acknowledged in writing.

F.  Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection E of this Section, consent for dental treatment rendered by dentists not performing oral and maxillofacial surgery in a hospital setting shall be governed exclusively by the provisions of R.S. 40:1299.131. 


§1299.54.  Emergencies

Summary:
In cases of an emergency, it is not necessary that a patient consent to every procedure. This means that you cannot sue a physician for operating in an emergency where it was not possible or feasible to get consent before operation. This only applies to the issue of consent and does not protect a doctor who commits malpractice during a medical emergency.

Statute Text:

A.  In addition to any other instances in which a consent is excused or implied at law, a consent to surgical or medical treatment or procedures suggested, recommended, prescribed, or directed by a duly licensed physician will be implied where an emergency exists.  For the purposes hereof, an emergency is defined as a situation wherein: (1) in competent medical judgment, the proposed surgical or medical treatment or procedures are reasonably necessary; and (2) a person authorized to consent under Section 1299.53 is not readily available, and any delay in treatment could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the life or health of the person affected, or could reasonably result in disfigurement or impair faculties.  

B.  For purposes of this Section, an emergency is also defined as a situation wherein: (1) a person transported to a hospital from a licensed health care facility is not in a condition to give consent; (2) a person authorized to give consent under 1299.53 is not readily available; and (3) any delay would be injurious to the health and well being of such person.