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Donofrio v. St. Francis Hospital

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

February 24, 2015

JOHN M. DONOFRIO, individually, and as the Executor of the Estate of ELIZABETH ANN DONOFRIO, TARA DONOFRIO, GINA MEDKEFF, heirs of ELIZABETH ANN DONOFRIO, Plaintiffs,
v.
ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL and IMRAN MIRZA, M.D., Defendants.

Submitted: January 26, 2015

Jacqueline Genesio, Esquire

Colleen D. Shields, Esquire

Derek Layser, Esquire

Jeffrey M. Gentilotti, Esquire

ORDER

Fred S. Silverman Judge

Upon Review of the Affidavits of Merit

Plaintiffs submitted two affidavits of merit with their medical negligence complaint. On January 26, 2015, Defendant St. Francis Hospital moved to have the court review them, in camera, to determine whether they comply with 18 Del. C. § 6853(a)(1) and (c).[1]

In Delaware, a healthcare negligence lawsuit must be filed with an affidavit of merit, signed by an expert, and accompanied by the expert's curriculum vitae.[2] The expert must be licensed to practice medicine as of the affidavit's date and engaged in the same or similar field as the defendant in the three years immediately preceding the alleged negligence.[3] The affidavit must state that reasonable grounds exist to believe the defendant was negligent in a way that proximately caused the plaintiff's injury.[4]

The statute's requirements are purposefully minimal. Accordingly, an affidavit of merit that tracks the statutory language complies with the statute.[5]

Plaintiffs' two affidavits address both Defendants. After in camera review, the court finds:

1. An expert signed each affidavit;
2. A current curriculum vitae was filed with each affidavit;
3. At the time each affidavit was sworn, both experts were licensed physicians who treated patients and/or taught in the same or similar field of medicine as the Defendants within the three years preceding the alleged negligence;
4. Both experts were Board certified in the same or similar field of medicine as the Defendants;
5. The affidavits state, with reasonable medical probability, that there are grounds to believe the applicable standard of care was breached by both Defendants;
6. Both experts state Defendants' breach proximately caused Plaintiff's injuries.

Considering the above, the court finds that the affidavits of merit comply with 18 Del. C. § 6853(a) and (c) as to the hospital.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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