2021 Georgia Code
Title 24 - Evidence
Chapter 8 - Hearsay
Article 2 - Admissions and Confessions
§ 24-8-826. Medical Reports in Narrative Form

Universal Citation: GA Code § 24-8-826 (2021)
  1. Upon the trial of any civil proceeding involving injury or disease, any medical report in narrative form which has been signed and dated by an examining or treating licensed physician, dentist, orthodontist, podiatrist, physical or occupational therapist, doctor of chiropractic, psychologist, advanced practice registered nurse, social worker, professional counselor, or marriage and family therapist shall be admissible and received in evidence insofar as it purports to represent the history, examination, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, or interpretation of tests or examinations, including the basis therefor, by the person signing the report, the same as if that person were present at trial and testifying as a witness; provided, however, that such report and notice of intention to introduce such report shall first be provided to the adverse party at least 60 days prior to trial. A statement of the qualifications of the person signing such report may be included as part of the basis for providing the information contained therein, and the opinion of the person signing the report with regard to the etiology of the injury or disease may be included as part of the diagnosis. Any adverse party may object to the admissibility of any portion of the report, other than on the ground that it is hearsay, within 15 days of being provided with the report. Further, any adverse party shall have the right to cross-examine the person signing the report and provide rebuttal testimony. The party tendering the report may also introduce testimony of the person signing the report for the purpose of supplementing the report or otherwise.
  2. The medical narrative shall be presented to the jury as depositions are presented to the jury and shall not go out with the jury as documentary evidence.

(Code 1981, §24-8-826, enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 2/HB 24.)

Cross references.

- Hearing before administrative law judge, § 34-9-102.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Dancing with the Big Boys: Georgia Adopts (most of) the Federal Rules of Evidence," see 63 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2011).


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Admission of records in medical malpractice action.

- Trial court did not err in admitting the podiatrist's medical records on the patient into evidence in the patient's medical malpractice case. Kohl v. Tirado, 256 Ga. App. 681, 569 S.E.2d 576 (2002) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Records properly excluded when 60-day notice requirement not met.

- In a premises liability suit, the trial court properly excluded certified copies of some of an invitee's medical records under former O.C.G.A. § 24-7-8 (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-9-902) because the invitee had not provided the requisite 60-day notice under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18. Former O.C.G.A. § 24-7-8 concerned only the authentication of medical records and did not allow the invitee to circumvent other evidentiary rules; furthermore, the invitee failed to provide a record citation for the specific medical records that the invitee claimed should have been admitted and thus it was unclear whether those records were narratives, to which former § 24-3-18(a) applied, or other types of records. Fuller v. Flash Foods, Inc., 298 Ga. App. 217, 679 S.E.2d 775 (2009) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Admissibility on summary judgment.

- In a wrongful death suit brought by a minor child's parents, alleging negligence and police misconduct arising out of an incident in which emergency surgery on their child was delayed due to police detention of the doctor who was to perform the surgery, summary judgment was improperly granted; the medical narrative report prepared by the doctor was admissible evidence under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18(a) and could be considered in opposition to a motion for summary judgment under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-56(c), in that the doctor's opinion in the report that the son, "in all likelihood," would have survived had the doctor not been prevented from caring for the son constituted a properly expressed medical opinion. Dalton v. City of Marietta, 280 Ga. App. 202, 633 S.E.2d 552 (2006) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Neurologist's notes improperly admitted.

- In a personal injury suit, it was error to admit a neurologist's notes under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18(a), as the notes were replete with unexplained medical terms and test results and thus did not comprise a medical narrative "in story form" as contemplated by the former statute; the error was not harmless, as the notes constituted the vast majority of appellees' medical evidence and for the most part were not cumulative of other testimony. Lott v. Ridley, 285 Ga. App. 513, 647 S.E.2d 292 (2007) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Neurologist report inadmissible in undue influence case.

- Daughter failed to carry the daughter's burden of showing a genuine issue of fact as to her parent's testamentary capacity or undue influence at the time the parent signed a will excluding her as a beneficiary although the parent became ill and died soon after executing the will. A neurologist report was not admissible under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18(a) because the report was not in narrative form and relied on unexplained medical terms and lab results. Prine v. Blanton, 290 Ga. 307, 720 S.E.2d 600 (2012) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Report prepared by others inadmissible.

- Trial court did not err in refusing to permit the manufacturer's two expert witnesses to testify to asbestos fiber counts on the manufacturer's packing in decedent's case against the manufacturer for decedent's exposure to asbestos that allegedly was in the manufacturer's packing material used in the plant where decedent worked as that testimony was inadmissible hearsay since neither of the expert witnesses were involved in preparing those counts; absent a witness from the laboratory that performed the counts of a report that complied with former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18(a), such testimony was inadmissible. John Crane, Inc. v. Jones, 262 Ga. App. 531, 586 S.E.2d 26 (2003) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Chiropractor's report properly admitted.

- In a personal injury suit, it was proper to admit a chiropractor's report under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18(a); as the report was in a narrative form, summarized a patient's injuries and treatment, and presented the relevant aspects of the patient's injury, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis in a logical form; although it contained medical terms, it attempted to explain those terms in the context of the report. Lott v. Ridley, 285 Ga. App. 513, 647 S.E.2d 292 (2007) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Recitation of records was not a narrative.

- In a personal injury suit, a bare recitation of a doctor's unedited records was not a medical narrative in story form, as contemplated by former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18(a); therefore, a trial court committed reversible error by allowing plaintiffs' counsel to merely read into the record the doctor's notes, with no attempt to organize the doctor's notes or structure the notes to make the notes more readily understandable to the jury. Lott v. Ridley, 285 Ga. App. 513, 647 S.E.2d 292 (2007) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Medical narrative in undue influence claim.

- In a probate action, an oncologist's opinion, when considered along with other evidence of a testator's mental impairment and weakness after being prescribed drugs, was relevant in determining the amount of influence necessary to dominate the testator's mind and destroy free agency and willpower. Bailey v. Edmundson, 280 Ga. 528, 630 S.E.2d 396 (2006) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-18).

Medical narrative in personal injury admissible.

- In a personal injury action, the trial court abused the court's discretion in sustaining the defendant's objections to the plaintiff's treating physician's medical narrative because the physician's discussion of future treatment was not too speculative, inconclusive, or vague, the physician's opinion that the plaintiff was not a malingerer was part of the physician's diagnosis, and the physician properly expressed an opinion on causation. The trial court misapplied the relevant law as the contested statements were made after the physician had examined the plaintiff and were admissible as the physician's interpretation of that examination. Owensby v. Williams, 355 Ga. App. 695, 843 S.E.2d 899 (2020).

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