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Georgia Supreme Court Hearings in Medical Malpractice Case Soon to Begin

Medical malpractice lawyers in Georgia will be looking with interest at the outcome of a civil case that’s due to begin hearings this week.The judgment in the case that involves four doctors who were cleared of negligence by a jury, has lasting repercussions for medical malpractice lawsuits in the state.

In 2003, 13-year-old Justin Smith was sickened with a rare tick-borne condition called Rocky Mountain spotted fever.The disease is spread by tick bites, and as symptoms worsen, can quickly lead to flat, pink rashes, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and joint pain. It can be a potentially life threatening illness. Justin was first taken to pediatric doctors, and then transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he finally recovered from his illness. By then however, he had already suffered some amount of brain damage.His parents, in their medical malpractice lawsuit against the four doctors, alleged that the doctors had been negligent in falling to diagnose the illness.The doctors claimed that the condition itself is so rare that it’s difficult to diagnose. In 2006, the four doctors were cleared of any wrongdoing by the jury.

Now, the Georgia Supreme Court will consider whether instructions given by the judge to the jurors regarding hindsight could have been inaccurate or confusing.Plaintiff’s attorneys claim that the hindsight instruction should only be given in case of a claim of negligence where the defendants had no knowledge of certain information.Here, the doctors were aware of the tick bite.The defendant’s attorney argue that Justin’s rashes, which are a symptom of the fever, only became evident when the child was taken to the Egleston facility, and therefore, the doctors were not aware of the symptomatic rashes.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims in Georgia

Recovering compensation after a medical injury caused by doctors, nurses or other healthcare providers can be a complex process requiring the hiring of expert medical witnesses which can be expensive, and months of research, and probing of medical records and bills.

If you’ve been injured or suffered an illness as a result of the negligence of a doctor or other healthcare provider, talk to an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney at the Katz law firm to help you determine your options for compensation.

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  • Kathy Williams, RN, CLNC

    Lisa, I’m appalled that four pediatricians were cleared of any wrongdoing in the Medical Malpractice Lawsuit against them, claiming the condition of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever(RMSF) is so rare that it’s difficult to diagnose, WOW! Why were 17 Cases treated in 1946 & 1947 with the recovery of all the patients? Why is it that Summer Camp Counselors are trained to beware of such incidents! Of course I don’t have any of the relevant medical records; pediatrician’s office, or medical bills to review, analyze and research, but we would have located the Best Expert Witnesses, one being a Life Care Planner because of the special needs the family is now presented with. Well, our conclusion for this case; There was a failure to presumptively diagnose and treat for RMSF in the presence of the symptoms; fever, & history of tick exposure. Incidently, the first repoted case of RMSF to be treated WITHOUT the development of a rash, was a diagnosis of necessity and only presumptive when antibiotic therapy was begun, & recovery was effected within 48hrs, 1949!