Interrogatories in medical negligence claims

The scope for interrogation in medical negligence claims was briefly addressed in a McGarry v Southern NSW Local Health Network (No 2) [2013] NSWSC 1110. In particular the Court was asked to consider whether an interrogatory need be addressed to a specific allegation of negligence.

Justice Adamson commented on interrogatories seeking ‘background’, saying at [10]:

Interrogatories are of particular importance in cases such as the instant where a plaintiff was undergoing a surgical operation under a general anaesthetic at the time at which she suffered injury. The method adopted by the surgeon and what occurred in the course of the operation are matters within the knowledge of the surgeon and the hospital through its operating staff. Although relevant matters are generally recorded in hospital records which are available to the plaintiff through the processes of the Court, there may be matters which are not recorded which are nonetheless germane to the plaintiff’s claim, either against the party from whom the answers to interrogatories are sought, or against another party.