Georgia Supreme Court Narrows Application of Peer Review and Medical Review Board Privileges

A 5-2 decision of the Georgia Supreme Court recently clarified the application of the peer review and medical review board privileges in the context of civil litigation. Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County v. Meeks, 2009 WL 1574472 (June 8, 2009). The facts of the case are fairly simple. A physician and the Hospital Authority of Valdosta d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center (the Hospital) were sued for medical malpractice following a cardiac catheterization and stent placement procedure. The case was based, in part, upon the hospital’s alleged negligence in credentialing the doctor to perform the cardiac procedure that resulted in the death of the plaintiff’s wife. The hospital filed a motion for a protective order, asserting that certain of the plaintiff’s discovery requests sought information and documents that were absolutely privileged under Georgia’s peer review and medical committee review statutes (O.C.G.A. §§ 31-7-133(a) and 31-7-143).

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