2016 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 1 - General Provisions
§ 51-1-29.5. Definitions; limitation on health care liability claim to gross negligence in emergency medical care; factors for jury consideration
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Affiliate" means a person who, directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a specified person, including any direct or indirect parent or subsidiary.
(2) "Claimant" means a person, including a decedent's estate, who seeks or has sought recovery of damages in a health care liability claim. All persons claiming to have sustained damages as the result of the bodily injury or death of a single person are considered a single claimant.
(3) "Control" means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the person, whether through ownership of equity or securities, by contract, or otherwise.
(4) "Court" means any federal or state court.
(5) "Emergency medical care" means bona fide emergency services provided after the onset of a medical or traumatic condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, including severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in placing the patient's health in serious jeopardy, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part. The term does not include medical care or treatment that occurs after the patient is stabilized and is capable of receiving medical treatment as a nonemergency patient or care that is unrelated to the original medical emergency.
(6) "Emergency medical services provider" means any person providing emergency medical care.
(7) "Health care" means any act or treatment performed or furnished, or that should have been performed or furnished, by any health care provider for, to, or on behalf of a patient during the patient's medical care, treatment, or confinement.
(8) "Health care institution" means:
(A) An ambulatory surgical center;
(B) A personal care home licensed under Chapter 7 of Title 31;
(B.1) An assisted living community licensed under Chapter 7 of Title 31;
(C) An institution providing emergency medical services;
(D) A hospice;
(E) A hospital;
(F) A hospital system;
(G) An intermediate care facility for the intellectually or developmentally disabled; or
(H) A nursing home.
(9) "Health care liability claim" means a cause of action against a health care provider or physician for treatment, lack of treatment, or other claimed departure from accepted standards of medical care, health care, or safety or professional or administrative services directly related to health care, which departure from standards proximately results in injury to or death of a claimant.
(10) "Health care provider" means:
(A) Any person, partnership, professional association, corporation, facility, or institution duly licensed, certified, registered, or chartered by the State of Georgia to provide health care, including but not limited to:
(i) A registered nurse;
(ii) A dentist;
(iii) A podiatrist;
(iv) A pharmacist;
(v) A chiropractor;
(vi) An optometrist; or
(vii) A health care institution; and
(B) Any person who is:
(i) An officer, director, shareholder, member, partner, manager, owner, or affiliate of a health care provider or physician; or
(ii) An employee, independent contractor, or agent of a health care provider or physician acting in the course and scope of the employment or contractual relationship.
(11) "Hospice" means a facility licensed as such under the "Georgia Hospice Law," Article 9 of Chapter 7 of Title 31.
(12) "Hospital" means a facility licensed as such under Chapter 7 of Title 31.
(13) "Hospital system" means a system of hospitals located in this state that are under the common governance or control of a corporate parent.
(14) "Medical care" means any act defined as the practice of medicine under Code Section 43-34-21.
(15) "Nursing home" means a facility licensed as such under Chapter 7 of Title 31.
(16) "Pharmacist" means a person licensed as such under Chapter 4 of Title 26.
(17) "Physician" means an individual licensed to practice medicine in this state, a professional association organized by an individual physician or group of physicians, or a partnership or limited liability partnership formed by a group of physicians.
(18) "Professional or administrative services" means those duties or services that a physician or health care provider is required to provide as a condition of maintaining the physician's or health care provider's license, accreditation status, or certification to participate in state or federal health care programs.
(b) Any legal term or word of art used in this chapter, not otherwise defined in this chapter, shall have such meaning as is consistent with the common law.
(c) In an action involving a health care liability claim arising out of the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital emergency department or obstetrical unit or in a surgical suite immediately following the evaluation or treatment of a patient in a hospital emergency department, no physician or health care provider shall be held liable unless it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the physician or health care provider's actions showed gross negligence.
(d) In an action involving a health liability claim arising out of the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital emergency department or obstetrical unit or in a surgical suite immediately following the evaluation or treatment of a patient in a hospital emergency department, the court shall instruct the jury to consider, together with all other relevant matters:
(1) Whether the person providing care did or did not have the patient's medical history or was able or unable to obtain a full medical history, including the knowledge of preexisting medical conditions, allergies, and medications;
(2) The presence or lack of a preexisting physician-patient relationship or health care provider-patient relationship;
(3) The circumstances constituting the emergency; and
(4) The circumstances surrounding the delivery of the emergency medical care.
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