South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Expert Testimony Must Establish Evidence of Improper Medical Information

Mississippi high court held that a patient who contended that he had not received proper informed consent prior to surgery, and suffered complications, must provide expert testimony at trial to support the claim that the information provided by the surgeon was faulty for the case to proceed.

Topic Torts
Key Words

Malpractice; Informed Consent; Expert Testimony

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Whittington and his wife visited a urology clinic about Whittington having a vasectomy. They watched an informational video about the procedure, visited with Dr. Mason, and signed a consent form that stated, “We have been informed of alternatives and complications.” Whittington had the vasectomy and then suffered six months of complications and pain that eventually resulted in removal of his right testicle, which resolved the problem. Whittington sued Mason for malpractice. The jury failed to reach a verdict; the judge held for the defendant. The appeals court affirmed. Whittington appealed again.


Affirmed. The key issue in this case is whether or not Dr. Mason obtained proper informed consent from Whittington prior to surgery. Mason provided evidence that Whittington had been informed of the surgery and possible problems and signed a consent form. Absent evidence from an expert witness that the information provided was incorrect, or failed to provide information about the risks of the procedure, Whittington had no case. Such testimony would be evaluated by the finder of fact to decide if proper procedure had been followed or not, but Whittington failed to provide such testimony at trial.


Whittington v. Mason, ---So.2d--- (2005 WL 1499756, Sup. Ct., Miss., 2005)

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