Georgia Supreme Court Allows Injured Patient’s Suit to Move Forward

The state Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals decision to overturn a summary judgment in favor of the hospital.  (See Abdel-Samed et al v. Dailey et al.)  The injured patient came to the hospital after he shot paint thinner into his finger with a high pressure paint sprayer.  The injured was seen in the emergency room and referred to a hand surgeon for immediate surgery.  The patient was told that the on-call orthopedic surgeon did not like to be bothered throughout the evening, so surgery would have to wait until the morning.  The injured patient was then transferred to a different hand doctor, who analyzed him and agreed with the determination that immediate hand surgery was necessary.  However, the injured was still told that he would have to wait until the next morning, and was placed in a small storage room for the remainder of the evening.

blue hand artThe tip of the injured’s middle finger was amputated and he brought suit against the consulting doctors for failing to transfer him to a hand surgeon.  Conflicting evidence from both the injured and the doctors left a question of whether hospitals were called for available hand surgeons.  One record showed that a hospital with an accessible hand surgeon was not called, while the doctor believed the hospital was checked and no one was available.  The consulting doctors sought summary judgment, arguing that the higher burden placed by state statute OCGA § 51- 1-29.5.  This statute raises the burden of proof from preponderance, or more likely than not, to clear and convincing evidence that the doctors were grossly negligent and did not use the even a slight amount of diligence in their care of the injured.

The lower court granted summary judgment, agreeing with the doctors that there was no way the injured could meet the level of proof.  The state Court of Appeals, however, agreed with the injured’s argument that it was a question for the jury if the actions by the doctors were negligent or grossly negligent.  The State Supreme court affirmed the Court of Appeal decision to overturn the award of summary judgment and looked at facts that could be considered grossly negligent by a jury, particularly the available testimony that could show a jury that no efforts were made by one of the consulting doctors between 2:00 A.M. and 7:33 A.M.   

The attorneys of Angell Law Firm aggressively pursue our clients’ Georgia medical malpractice claims.  When a doctor or hospital fails to provide the care that you need, experienced counsel is essential to obtain the recovery you deserve.  Thorough investigation and research paired with skilled negotiation and litigation has provided our clients the resources they need to heal.  Our attorneys and staff understand the challenges and burdens you face with mounting medical bills and painful physical recovery.  If you have been injured while under the care of a hospital or surgeon, contact our office today for a free, confidential consultation at (770) 217-4954.

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