Fellows v. Moynihan, Possibly a Good Thing for Patients
Fellows v. Moynihan was recently decided by the Washington Supreme Court. This is an interesting case, where the court had to decide whether the initial review of a physician, for the purpose of granting clinical privileges, constitutes peer review or quality improvement activities.
The court had to be answer this question because the Washington legislature has passed laws protecting certain documents that qualify as either peer review or quality improvement from discovery in subsequent litigation. These laws seek to encourage certain types of peer review and quality improvement by not eliminating the deterrent of a hospital wondering whether certain documents will later be used against the hospital in court.
For now, this seems to be a good thing for patients. It means that if there was documentation of reasons that a physician was not given a certain clinical privilege by a hospital, the patient can obtain that information in a later lawsuit, if he or she was hurt by that physician.