Medical Malpractice of Blood Banks

In Sturm v. Univ. of Cincinnati Med. Ctr.(2000), 137 Ohio App. 3d 557, 739 N.E.2d 364, the court considered a case involving the standard of care in the medical community concerning blood banks, and the question of whether the law of negligence or the law of medical malpractice applied. The plaintiffs in Sturm, like plaintiffs herein, alleged negligence on behalf of a blood bank that transfused the plaintiff with blood infected with hepatitis C. While the plaintiffs in Sturm alleged ordinary negligence, the trial court nevertheless required some evidence from persons with superior knowledge and skill related to blood transfusions by blood banks. On appeal, the plaintiffs in Sturm argued that the trial court incorrectly applied the law governing medical malpractice to the plaintiffs' claims for negligence. In rejecting plaintiffs' argument, and affirming the trial court's decision, the court of appeals stated: "Under the law of negligence, a defendant must conform to the legal standard of reasonable conduct in light of the apparent risk. Berdyck v. Shinde (1993), 66 Ohio St. 3d 573, 578, 613 N.E.2d 1014, 1020. When a situation calls for knowledge and skill superior to that of an ordinary person, persons who possess this superior knowledge and skill must use that degree of care and skill that is reasonable in light of their superior learning and experience. Id. at 579, 613 N.E.2d at 1020-1021. This standard of conduct is referred to as 'good practice.' Id. Physicians are a common example of persons of superior knowledge and skill held to the standard of good practice. Thus, a person of superior knowledge and skill must employ that degree of care and skill that a person of the same learning and experience of ordinary care, skill, and diligence should employ in like circumstances. Id. at 580, 613 N.E.2d at 1021-1022. The relevant standard of good practice must be proven through expert testimony. Id. at 579, 613 N.E.2d at 1020-1022." Sturm, 137 Ohio App. 3d at 561-562, 739 N.E.2d at 367. The court in Sturm went on to note that in Morse v. Riverside Hosp. (1974), 44 Ohio App. 2d 422, 73 Ohio Op. 2d 537, 339 N.E.2d 846, negligence by a blood bank was also alleged, but could only be proven through expert testimony.