Dr. P consulted with the attorney provided by her malpractice insurance. At their first meeting, Ms. P provided him with her notes. “Based on this,” the attorney said, “I don’t see that you did anything wrong.” He explained to Dr. P that the next step in the legal process was called “discovery” and that they would have the opportunity to examine all the medical records and to take depositions of those people who might testify at trial. The attorney also hired his own expert to review the evidence.

During the discovery process, the attorney learned about the letter from the insurance company as well as the fact that the other clinicians knew that the patient was using duplicate pain medication prescriptions, but never conveyed this info to Dr. P.

During depositions, the medical experts testified that Dr. P’s actions at the consultation were within the proper standard of care. The medical examiner and several medical experts testified that the methadone toxicity levels indicated that the patient may have ingested methadone that she obtained from another source.

After discovery, but before the case went to trial, Dr. P’s attorney made a motion to dismiss the case against her based on the fact that there was no evidence that she was negligent in treating the patient. The judge agreed, and the case against Dr. P was dismissed.  [The case is continuing against the other defendants, however.]