Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
In Virginia, there is a system of medical malpractice review panels that are available to either party in a potential medical-malpractice lawsuit. Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-581.1 et seq. (1984). A plaintiff may not bring suit against a "health-care provider" registered in Virginia without first notifying the defendant of the claim and allowing time for the case to be reviewed by a medical review panel. Such panels are convened, case-by-case, by appointment of the chief justice of Virginia, at the request of either party. The panel comprises one trial-court judge, as chairman, three impartial Virginia lawyers, and three impartial Virginia doctors. The panel hears evidence and issues a non-binding opinion on the issues of liability and extent of injury. The panel's opinion is admissible as evidence if the matter goes to a full civil trial.
The patient had gone to the outpatient services of the mental health facility where he was referred to the inpatient services of the mental health facility. The patient and his wife claimed that his condition worsened there, and he was on the verge of death at the time he was released from the mental health facility. The patient filed a claim for negligent treatment by the inpatient services and sought damages. His wife filed a claim for loss of consortium. The circuit court granted the mental health facility's motion to dismiss on the ground that the patient had failed to notify the mental health facility before filing suit, as required by Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-581.2(A) (1984) under the medical review panel provisions.
In a West Virginia court, does a citizen of West Virginia suing a Virginia hospital for injuries sustained in Virginia, need to comply with the medical review panel provisions of Virginia law?
The court reversed and remanded, holding that in a West Virginia court, a citizen of West Virginia suing a Virginia hospital for injuries sustained in Virginia was not required to comply with the medical review panel provisions of Virginia law. The court concluded that Virginia's medical malpractice review process was so complicated and expensive that, once in motion, the patient had little choice but to remain in the Virginia courts.