488 S.E.2d 389 (W. Va. 1997)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Appellant patient filed a negligence action against appellee hospital and doctor based on two falls while he was a patient in the hospital. The Circuit Court of Wood County (West Virginia) granted summary judgment for the hospital and doctor. The patient appealed.
FACTS: The patient's complaint alleged that he was dropped or permitted to fall on two occasions and that he sustained injuries as a result of those falls. The hospital and doctor moved for summary judgment based on the lack expert testimony that showed a deviation from the standard of care that caused an injury. The trial court granted the motion.
On appeal the court held that: (1) W. Va. Code § 55-7B-7 (1986) had not mandated that expert testimony be used in medical professional liability cases and the trial court had discretion to require expert testimony, (3) medical expert testimony was not required where the alleged negligence was not of a complex nature, (4) the two fall incidents were susceptible to a reasonable care standard that could be determined by a jury without expert testimony, (5) because complex care issues had been raised the trial court had to determine if the incidents were of such complexity that an expert witness was required, (6) the trial court clearly erred as to the lack of expert testimony as to the first fall because a physician had testified that the accident could have been prevented by the use of side rails.
CONCLUSION: The court held that the trial court erred in granting the hospital and doctor's motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the patient had no medical expert to show a violation of the applicable standard of care. The judgment was reversed and remanded.