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Action for damages. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Moore, Emeritus.
1. It is the general rule in this jurisdiction that expert medical testimony is required to show negligence respecting a physician's or surgeon's service to his patient. Pilgrim v. Landham, 63 Ga. App. 451 (4) (11 SE2d 420); Shea v. Philips, 213 Ga. 269 (2) (98 SE2d 552); Hayes v. Brown, 105 Ga. App. 360, 363 (1) (133 SE2d 102); Murphy v. Little, 112 Ga. App. 517, 518 (1) (145 SE2d 760). And this rule is applicable where on defendant's motion for summary judgment plaintiff offers only his own by affidavit in opposition to defendant's medical testimony. Hollis v. St. Joseph Infirmary, 108 Ga. App. 309 (132 SE2d 841). The only exceptions to this rule are where facts, although connected with medicine, are so well known as not to require expert testimony to place them before the jury, or where the case concerns matters which juries must be credited with knowing by reason of common knowledge. See Pilgrim v. Landham, 63 Ga. App. 451, 454, supra; Shea v. Phillips, 213 Ga. 269 (2), supra; Summerour v. Lee, 104 Ga. App. 73, 74 (2) (121 SE2d 80).
2. The facts of this case do not bring it within any exception to the general rule requiring medical testimony to show medical malpractice, and accordingly there was no error in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment. Cf. Murphy v. Little, supra; Summerour v. Lee, supra; Hollis v. St. Joseph Infirmary, supra.
Defendant's motion for summary judgment was accompanied by his own affidavit both as a party to the action and as an expert medical witness. After giving his qualifications, which included training and experience in orthopedic surgery and the treatment of fractures, defendant testified that plaintiff suffered a fracture of the left tibia and fibula just above the ankle which was "badly comminuted and impacted, i.e., the fragment of the bone were driven together in such it way that it was stable and could not be moved. There were several fractured lines extending toward the ankle joint. The fracture was slightly angulated but appeared to be in a clinically acceptable position. An effort was made to improve the alignment but it was impossible to break up the impaction so as to improve the position without applying a great deal of force, and if that force had been applied it is quite possible that any one or more of the fracture lines would have been extended into the ankle joint and further up the leg, resulting in a much more serious and unstable injury. Based upon my clinical and professional judgment, the alignment of the fracture was satisfactory for casting in view of all of the circumstances, and was the best alignment which could be secured . . . After the cast was finally removed, the foot was found to have pronation and roll inward. This condition was recognized when I first saw him in that there was a slight angulation of the fracture. As explained above, this could not be corrected without causing an injury which could have been much more serious."
Defendant further denied each of the particular allegations of negligence against him, and stated that plaintiff's pain, discomfort, and the angulation of the limb were caused by the initial injury and were not the result of improper treatment.
In opposition plaintiff offered only his own affidavit, the gist of which was that the foot and ankle remained at a strange and unnatural angle when the cast was removed.
Troutman, Sams, Schroder & Lockerman, T. M. Smith, Jr., Robert L. Pennington, for appellee.
Rich, Bass, Kidd & Broome, C. Richard Avery, for appellant.
Friday May 22 18:37 EDT

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