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Medical Negligence - Expert Testimony - Summary Judgment

Shadrick v. Grana, [Ms. 1170513, Oct. 26, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2018). The Court (Sellers, J.; and Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Parker, Main, Wise, Bryan, and Mendheim, JJ. concur, and Shaw, J. concurs in the result) affirms the Calhoun Circuit Court’s summary judgment in favor of Dr. Wilfredo Grana in a medical malpractice action. Plaintiff’s decedent presented to the emergency room of the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain. The emergency room physician contacted the cardiologist on call at the time and Dr. Grana, a board-certified internist and hospitalist for the hospital. Ms. *2.

Dr. Grana consulted by telephone with the on-call cardiologist and relayed that the patient had low blood pressure, elevated heart rate, elevated troponin levels, and fluid in his lungs and that the cardiologist should see the patient before he went home for the night. Ms. *3-4. However, the cardiologist did not see the patient until the following afternoon after the patient had suffered cardiac arrest. Ms. *5.

The plaintiff settled her claims against the cardiologist, and the circuit court granted Dr. Grana’s motion for summary judgment. In affirming the summary judgment for Dr. Grana, the Supreme Court held “[g]iven the complexities of the information being communicated between the physicians and the possible diagnostic interpretations of that information, the exception to the general rule that a medical-malpractice plaintiff must present expert testimony on the standard of care does not apply here.” Ms. *13.

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