American Journal of Law & Medicine

Malpractice: protection of hospital peer review records - Fox v. Kramer.

Malpractice: Protection of Hospital Peer Review Records--Fox v. Kramer(1)--The Supreme Court of California held that a medical malpractice plaintiff could not refer to a physician-investigator's draft preliminary report for the State Department of Health Services (DHS), and could not subpoena the doctor to give expert testimony, where the doctor's conclusions were based on hospital peer review committee records reviewed in the course of official duties.(2) The court prevented a medical malpractice plaintiff from circumventing section 1157,(3) which expressly prevents discovery of a hospital's peer review committee records. However, the court declined to classify the peer review committee records as "remedial or precautionary measures" under section 1151,(4) thereby failing to establish a broad general privilege for peer review materials.

Defendant Drs. Kramer and Kushlan performed a colonoscopy on plaintiff Wendy Fox at defendant Good Samaritan Hospital in 1992. Upon believing that the doctors had abused her during the procedure, Fox filed a complaint with the hospital. The hospital shortly thereafter discussed the incident at a peer review committee meeting. …

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