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Court of Appeals Limits Application of Ordinary Negligence in Malpractice Cases

In St. Mary's Health Care System, Inc. v. Roach A17A1582 (March 2, 2018), the Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's denial of summary judgment in a case where plaintiff failed to submit an expert affidavit. The plaintiff alleged that the hospital imaging interpretation system provided that x-rays after 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night would not be interpreted by a radiologist until the next morning. The plaintiff did not attach an expert affidavit concerning this allegation.

The hospital moved for summary judgment because plaintiff did not attach an expert affidavit. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment finding that an expert affidavit was not required. The trial court further noted that the radiology policy was the product of a business negotiation between the hospital and the radiology group to provide exclusive radiology services and that physicians were not involved in the contract negotiations.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of summary judgment. The Court noted that the only way to properly allege and establish the hospital's negligence was with expert testimony explaining how the radiology service agreement falls below the standard of care. The decision helpfully limits the application of ordinary negligence.

By: Richard Tisinger, Jr.

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