McGraw v. St. Joseph's Hosp.

488 S.E.2d 389, 200 W. Va. 114, 1997 W. Va. LEXIS 15



The standard of nonmedical, administrative, ministerial or routine care in a hospital need not be established by expert testimony, because the jury is competent from its own experience to determine and apply a reasonable care standard.


The plaintiff went to the emergency room for a shortness of breath and was admitted to the hospital. Four female hospital personnel attempted to help the plaintiff into bed but couldn’t because he weighed too much. He then had a sensation of falling although he could not remember exactly what happened, and was discovered on the floor near his bed the next morning. He testified that the women dropped him while trying to get him into bed. He filed the action against the defendant, St. Joseph’s hospital, alleging a fractured neck and other injuries in, about, and upon his arms, knees, and other parts of his body from being dropped twice. The circuit court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgement because the plaintiff was unable to produce expert testimony as to any violation of the standard of care by the hospital.


Is a plaintiff required to produce expert medical testimony as to the standard of care where his claim is that he suffered injuries due to incompetent non-medical personnel at a hospital?




The Court reversed the opinion of the lower court because they erred in granting defendant summary judgement.Consistent with W. Va. Code § 55-7B-7, a violation of standard of care shall be established in medical professional liability cases by testimony of an expert witness if required by the court. The plaintiff produced an expert in Dr. Henthorn, who clearly testified that defendant violated the standard of care it owed to plaintiff as a result of plaintiff's May 12 fall. Dr. Henthorn has determined a standard of care for the May 12 incident and opined that the defendant violated that standard.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.