October 28, 2003: Ayers v. Hughes Spalding, et al.

October 28, 2003: Ayers v. Hughes Spalding, et al.
Civil Action No. 02VS032624B (Fulton Co., Ga. St. Ct.)

The Ayers case involves the failure to diagnose and treat an eight-month-old infant's bacterial meningitis. The infant and his mother arrived at the defendant hospital twice in a 12 hour period complaining of continued high fevers and other symptoms of an infection not responding to treatment. Both times, however, the mother's complaints were not taken seriously and her son was discharged without adequate treatment. He died five days later of complications from bacterial meningitis. When plaintiffs' counsel attempted, one month after the infant's death, to obtain the medical records of the two hospital visits, the hospital responded by stating that it could not find the records and that it needed more time to conduct a proper search. Over three years later, however, the hospital still had not produced the records. In addition, the hospital refused to adequately explain what happened to the records. In response, plaintiffs filed a motion for sanctions. The court granted the motion and sanctioned the hospital by establishing two undisputed facts: (1) the hospital's physician agents breached the standard of care, and (2) the breach of the standard of care was a proximate cause of the infant's death. The court precluded the hospital from presenting any evidence to contradict these findings.

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