McGraw v. St. Joseph’s Hospital Case Brief

Summary of McGraw v. St. Joseph’s Hospital (1997) Pg. 422, 200 W. Va. 114, 488 S.E.2d 389 (1997)

Parties: Appellant – Plaintiff – McGraw

Appellee – Defendant – St. Joseph’s Hospital

Court: West Virginia Supreme Court, 1997

Facts: The plaintiff was admitted into the hospital after a 4 hour wait in an emergency room and being treated for shortness of breath. While in the hospital, the plaintiff (280 – 306 lbs.) was dropped by nurses in an attempt to put him in bed (twice). Finally, men had to pick him up and put him in bed. Plaintiff sustained injuriesA month later, Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital.

Procedural Posture: TC – granted summary judgment for Defendant dismissing the case. Plaintiff appealed motion on the grounds that medical expert testimony was required to show that the Defendant violated the standard of care in its treatment of him…

Issue: Is medical expert testimony required in regards to performance of hospital staff in card of their patients?

Judgment: Reversed and remanded case to TC to be decided by jury.

Holding: Held that medical expert testimony is not necessary in determining the reasonable standard of care of hospital staff in care of their patients, and a jury can decide whether a reasonable standard of care was used based upon their own experiences.

Relevant Rule: The standard of care and attention rendered by nurses or by a hospital to its patients necessarily does not require proof by expert testimony. A jury is competent from its own experience to determine and apply such a reasonable-care standard.

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