On July 8, 2008, the Georgia Supreme Court granted petitions for certiorari filed by three physician defendants in the case of Lyon v. Schramm, 291 Ga.App. 48, 661 S.E.2d 178 (2008). That medical malpractice case involves a 43-year woman who claims that her longtime primary care and OB-GYN physicians failed to give her certain vaccinations and other care recommended for persons who have no spleen. Because of her asplenia and her physicians’ failures to appropriately immunized her, the Plaintiff claims that she suffered an “overwhelming post-splenectomy infection” (OPSI) that led to the amputation of both of her legs and both of her arms. The Plaintiff is being represented in Atlanta by Daniel A. Ragland, a personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer at Ragland Law Firm, LLP.
The defendant-physicians assert that the Plaintiff’s claims of professional negligence are barred by Georgia’s five year medical malpractice statute of repose because the patient first starting seeing them more than five years before the lawsuit was filed. For this reason, the trial court granted Motions to Dismiss on behalf of the Defendants in April 2007. Mr. Ragland appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals which reversed the trial court’s decision finding that the five year statute of repose had not expired. The Georgia Court of Appeals reasoned that the Defendants had failed to vaccinate and otherwise properly protect their asplenic patient from the risks of OPSI on many occasions, including visits which took place during the five year pre-suit period. As such, the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed that negligent acts which were committed within five years of the lawsuit could support timely malpractice claims by the Plaintiff.
Both sides have now filed their appellate briefs with the Georgia Supreme Court. Oral argument before the Georgia Supreme Court has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 20, 2008.