Another Geffner sightingDecember 30, 2014
Tsimbler v Fell, 2014 NY Slip Op 08982 (2d Dept. 2014)
“In opposition, the plaintiff submitted the affidavit of a physician specializing in the field of internal medicine, which did not state whether the physician had any specific training or expertise in ophthalmology, or particularized knowledge as to the treatment of glaucoma. Moreover, the affidavit did not indicate that the physician had familiarized himself with the relevant literature or otherwise set forth how he was, or became, familiar with the applicable standards of care in this specialized area of practice. ” While it is true that a medical expert need not be a specialist in a particular field in order to testify regarding accepted practices in that field . . . the witness nonetheless should be possessed of the requisite skill, training, education, knowledge or experience from which it can be assumed that the opinion rendered is reliable'” (Behar v Coren, 21 AD3d 1045, 1046-1047, quoting Postlethwaite v United Health Servs. Hosps., Inc., 5 AD3d 892, 895; see Shectman v Wilson, 68 AD3d 848, 849). Thus, where a physician opines outside of his or her area of specialization, a foundation must be laid tending to support the reliability of the opinion rendered (see Shectman v Wilson, 68 AD3d at 850; Geffner v North Shore Univ Hosp., 57 AD3d 839; Bjorke v Rubenstein, 53 AD3d 519, 520; Glazer v Lee, 51 AD3d 970, 971; Mustello v Berg, 44 AD3d 1018, 1019; Behar v Coren, 21 AD3d at 1046-1047). ”
The general rule is that a physician can opine on anything within the gambit of medicine. Yet, Geffner carved out an exception for what I can only conceive as areas within certain specialized areas of medicine, where the physician’s recitation of education and expertise has to be akin to that of a nurse opining on the service of a physician. This of course runs counter to the DFS opinion letter (when they used to write opinion letters) which states a physician can comment on out of specialty services.