Court of Appeals Addresses Forgery of Medical Tests by Hospital Personnel in Georgia Medical Malpractice Case

Medical providers and hospitals can be held accountable for medical malpractice if the negligent or criminal conduct of their employees results in harm to a patient. In a recently issued decision, the Georgia Court of Appeals explained the requirements for a plaintiff to collect damages for a medical malpractice claim arising from the improper conduct of a hospital employee.

The defendant hospital was sued after one of their employees faced criminal charges for falsifying medical test results and concealing the actual results of the plaintiff’s tests. The plaintiffs underwent mammogram testing at a hospital operated by the defendant, and the technician who was responsible for transmitting the test results to a radiologist for interpretation instead forged results, making it appear as if everything was normal without a radiologist reviewing the test.

The plaintiffs sued the defendant in state court, alleging that the hospital was vicariously liable for any damages caused by the employee’s conduct. The complaint claimed that the actual test results may have shown abnormalities, and that the employee’s misconduct resulted in misdiagnosis, as well as the burden of undergoing a second mammogram. The trial court allowed the plaintiff’s case to proceed toward a trial, and the defendant appealed.

The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, finding that because none of the plaintiffs alleged that they actually had breast cancer that was misdiagnosed as a result of the forged test results, no actual injury resulted from the employee’s misconduct. The court also rejected the plaintiffs’ claims that they suffered from emotional and psychological injury as a result of the burden and stress related to learning of the misconduct and the required subsequent testing. The case was resolved in favor of the defendants on all counts.

Although the plaintiffs’ claims were rejected in this instance, the court made clear that hospitals and other medical providers can be held vicariously liable for the negligent or criminal conduct of their employees which results in actual harm to a plaintiff. If any of the plaintiffs in this case actually had breast cancer or another ailment that was misdiagnosed because of the forged tests, the court would likely have allowed the plaintiff to take the case to trial and seek damages stemming from the delayed diagnosis. Determining whether the conduct of a doctor or hospital employee amounts to medical malpractice can be complicated and confusing, but a skilled Georgia medical malpractice attorney can help you decide whether you are a victim and entitled to monetary damages.

Are you a victim of Medical Malpractice

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you should consider contacting a dedicated medical malpractice attorney to assist with your case. The attorneys at McAleer Law have extensive experience handling complex medical malpractice lawsuits, as well as Georgia car accident claims, slip and fall accidents, and other personal injury cases. Proving that a doctor, hospital, or one of their employees was negligent is not enough to prove your case, and defendants and their attorneys can often avoid liability by convincing the court that all the required elements of your claim are not met. With our experience and skill, you can be sure to have the best chances of receiving compensation for the injuries you or your loved ones sustained. Contact our firm at 404-622-5337 to schedule a free initial consultation.