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In most states, for the purposes of a malpractice lawsuit, a patient must present expert testimony as to the standard of care and its breach, unless the breach is sufficiently obvious as to lie within the common knowledge of the jury. For instance, expert testimony is not required where a physician does an obviously careless act from which a lay person can infer negligence. Examples of such obvious acts would be amputating the wrong limb, dropping a scalpel on the patient, or leaving a sponge inside the patient’s body.

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