Honorable Oliver Gasch, Senior Judge.
Parents Diane and William Laws and their son Jeffrey bring suit against defendants Georgetown University Hospital, Georgetown Anesthesia Associates, and Dr. Ananth R. Nancherla. During the Caesarean delivery of Jeffrey Laws on January 17, 1983, Diane Laws suffered a cardiac arrest. As a result, plaintiffs claim that both mother and child have suffered serious and permanent injuries. Jeffrey Laws suffers from cerebral palsy and mental and motor retardation. The plaintiffs ascribe these injuries to the medical malpractice of the defendants.
During the deposition of Dr. Jeffrey King, the obstetrician in charge of the labor and delivery, the deponent stated that following Jeffrey Laws' birth he sent a memorandum to Dr. MacNamara, the Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine, concerning the complications attending Ms. Laws' delivery. Dr. MacNamara received the letter, dated January 19, 1983. The plaintiffs seek to discover this letter. The defendants object.
In Bredice v. Doctors Hospital, Inc., 50 F.R.D. 249 (D.D.C. 1970), aff'd, 156 U.S. App. D.C. 199, 479 F.2d 920 (D.C. Cir. 1973), a member of this Court held that minutes and reports of hospital staff meetings, through which the medical staff of hospitals review, analyze, and evaluate the clinical work of their members, are entitled to a qualified privilege. Id. at 251. The Court reasoned that
confidentiality is essential to effective functioning of these staff meetings; and these meetings are essential to the continued improvement in the care and treatment of patients. Candid and conscientious evaluation of clinical practices is a sine qua non of adequate hospital care. To subject these discussions and deliberations to the discovery process, without a showing of exceptional necessity, would result in terminating such deliberations. Constructive professional criticism cannot occur in an atmosphere of apprehension that one doctor's suggestion will be used as a denunciation of a colleague's conduct in a malpractice suit.