Last month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a case brought against a hospital involving allegations that the hospital was negligent in allowing the plaintiff to develop a stage IV bed sore. Ultimately, however, the court rejected the plaintiff’s case because the required expert affidavit that was filed along with the case failed to comply with state-law requirements.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital while he was unconscious. While he was being treated by the hospital, he developed a stage IV pressure ulcer near the base of his back. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the hospital, claiming that the hospital staff was negligent in failing to assess and treat the pressure ulcer and to properly care for him while he was unconscious.
As is the case in Maryland, under Georgia state law, medical malpractice plaintiffs must submit an affidavit in support of their claim. Essentially, the affidavit must come from a medical profession in a relevant field, and it must “set forth specifically at least one negligent act or omission claimed to exist and the factual basis for each such claim.”
The plaintiff submitted an affidavit from a nurse, stating that, in her opinion, the hospital negligently failed to “properly assess and treat [the plaintiff’s] wounds; and appropriately advocate for an unconscious patient to ensure that said patient received the monitoring and treatment required.”
The Hospital Moves for Summary Judgment
The hospital argued that the plaintiff’s expert affidavit was defective in that it was too general in its language and failed to specify at least one negligent act or omission. The trial court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.
On appeal, the case was affirmed. In affirming the lower court’s decision, the appellate court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that his claims against the hospital should not be considered medical malpractice claims but should be viewed as claims of traditional negligence, for which no affidavit is required. The court explained that the plaintiff’s allegations called into question whether the hospital’s medical staff provided adequate medical care, which fits squarely within the meaning of a medical malpractice claim.
Claims Against Nursing Homes May Be Considered Medical Malpractice
It is important for anyone who has a loved one in a Maryland nursing home to understand that, depending on the nature of the allegations, courts may view these claims as medical malpractice cases. If this is the case, under Maryland law, there are additional requirements that must be met, including the filing of a certificate of merit. To learn more about Maryland nursing home negligence cases, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Are You in Need of a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney?
If you have a loved one whom you believe has been provided with inadequate medical care while residing at a Maryland nursing home, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. The skilled personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience in both traditional negligence cases as well as medical malpractice cases. We understand the distinctions between the two, and we have a broad network of experts to assist in the preparation of our clients’ cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
The Use of Hidden Cameras in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published May 12, 2017.
Appellate Court Upholds Nursing Home Arbitration Clause Despite Flaws in the Contractual Language, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published June 7, 2017.