Nguyen v. Southwestern Emergency Physicians, P.C.Annotate this Case
This case involves the application of Georgia’s "ER statute" (OCGA 51-1-29.5), which required that plaintiffs who bring malpractice claims based on "emergency medical care" provided in a hospital emergency department must meet a higher standard and burden of proof to prevail. In this case, the plaintiffs took their infant daughter, who had fallen off a bed, to the emergency room with what the child’s mother described as a huge discolored bump on her head. Plaintiffs’ alleged the emergency room personnel committed malpractice in failing to properly evaluate the child and releasing her from the ER without diagnosing and treating her subdural hematoma and skull fracture, which led a few days later to severe brain damage. The trial court granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs, holding that section 51-1-29.5 did not apply to their claim, but on appeal the Court of Appeals reversed. After its review, the Supreme Court concluded that the Court of Appeals reached the right result, because the trial court misapplied 51-1-29.5 as well as the summary judgment standard of review.