The plaintiffs had appealed the prior dismissal of their case wherein they sued three internists, alleging that they were negligent in failing to diagnosis a retroperitoneal hematoma that required surgical intervention. In violation of Connecticut law, the plaintiffs attached an expert opinion letter to their complaint from a general surgeon rather than an internist, depriving the Trial Court of personal jurisdiction. To excuse this inconsistency on appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the defendants were diagnosing and treating a condition that was outside their area of specialty.
The Appellate Court rejected this, stating “[t]he plaintiffs overlook . . . that a broad specialty such as internal medicine often overlaps with other medical specialties. Under the plaintiffs’ argument, there likely never would be a situation where a physician’s treatment of a patient falls within the specific specialty of internal medicine, as physicians who are board certified in that specialty are often called upon to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that could fall within a variety of medical specialties.”
Importantly, this decision held for the first time that trial courts can and should look at evidence outside a plaintiff’s complaint in deciding such motions to dismiss medical malpractice actions.