Nurse’s Opinion Letter Insufficient to Support Claim that Negligent ER Care Lead to Stroke Death

An action alleging negligent care by a hospital’s emergency room lead to a patient’s subsequent death from a hemorrhagic stroke was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction because the good faith certificate of the plaintiff’s attorney, filed with the complaint as required by statute, was accompanied by an insufficient opinion letter to support the certificate.


A Connecticut statute requires an opinion letter from a “similar health care provider,” defined as someone having training and experience in the “same discipline or school of practice” and that such training and experience must “be as a result of the active involvement in the practice or teaching of medicine within the five-year period before the incident giving rise to the claim."


The court agreed with the hospital’s argument that in an action against an emergency room designated as a Level II Trauma Center, the statute is not satisfied by a letter from a registered nurse with no emergency medicine credential or work experience within the last five years, but rather should have been from a person with training, experience and proper certification in emergency medicine. Further, the qualifications of the opinion letter’s author must be set forth in the opinion letter itself, and failure to do so is required dismissal. Bell v. Hospital of St. Raphael, 133 Conn.App. 548 (Conn.App. Feb 14, 2012).