Brief Fact Summary. Nannie Boyce (Ms. Boyce) suffered pain and disability seven years after the Defendant, Brown (Defendant), placed a metal screw in her ankle. The Plaintiffs, Nannie and Berlie Boyce (Plaintiffs), sued the Defendant.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Medical malpractice can only be shown where, by expert testimony, it is established that the doctor acted outside of the community norms in their treatment of the patient.
Issue. Whether the Defendant was negligent when he failed to remove the screw from the Ms. Boyce’s ankle.
Held. The expert testimony could not establish that the Defendant acted outside of the community standards and therefore the Defendant did not commit malpractice.
Discussion. Medical doctors are required to possess the degree of skill and learning possessed by an average member of the medical profession in good standing in the community in which they practice and apply that skill and knowledge with reasonable care. To be liable for malpractice, a doctor must have used a treatment that the medical community where the doctor practices forbids, or have neglected to do something that community standards would require. To successfully allege malpractice, a plaintiff must offer expert testimony on the community standards of medical care. In this case, because the expert testimony could not establish that the Defendant acted outside of the community medical standards when the Ms. Boyce returned seven years after surgery, the Defendant cannot be found guilty of malpractice.