North Carolina General Statute 90-21.12
Section 90-21.12 of the North Carolina General Statutes prescribes the appropriate standard of care in a medical malpractice action:
In any action for damages for personal injury or death arising out of the furnishing or the failure to furnish professional services in the performance of medical, dental, or other health care, the defendant shall not be liable for the payment of damages unless the trier of the facts is satisfied by a greater weight of the evidence that the care of such health care provider was not in accordance with the standards of practice among members of the same health care profession with similar training and experience situated in the same or similar communities at the time of the alleged act giving rise to the cause of action. N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-21.12 (2005)
In Purvis v. Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. Serv. Corp., 175 N.C. App. 474, 480-81, 624 S.E.2d 380, 385-86 (2006), the Court held that the plaintiff's expert witness failed to qualify pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-21.12 because his knowledge of the applicable standard of care came from his review of Internet materials regarding the medical community at issue more than four years after the alleged injury to plaintiff. Id.
In applying N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-21.12, the Court has held in Billings v. Rosenstein, 174 N.C. App. 191, 619 S.E.2d 922 (2005), disc. review denied, 360 N.C. 478, 630 S.E.2d 664 (2006):
Although it is not necessary for the witness testifying as to the applicable standard of care to have actually practiced in the same community as the defendant, the expert witness must demonstrate that he is familiar with the standard of care in the community where the injury occurred, or the standard of care of similar communities.
When determining whether an expert is familiar with the standard of care in the community where the injury occurred, a court should consider whether an expert is familiar with a community that is similar to a defendant's community in regard to physician skill and training, facilities, equipment, funding, and also the physical and financial environment of a particular medical community.