The sole question presented for review before this Court is whether the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the trial court’s order denying defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on their contention that plaintiff had failed to timely respond to their request for admissions as required by N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rule 36. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that plaintiff did not comply with Rule 36 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure and that the trial court erred by entering the order denying summary judgment in favor of defendants on that basis. Accordingly, we reverse that part of the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed this order.
This appeal arises from plaintiff’s claim of medical negligence against defendant health-care providers. Plaintiff alleged that she was treated for menorrhagia at the Pinehurst Women’s Clinic from 1988 until late August 1990 by defendant Dr. Joel Puleo, an obstetrician and gynecologist. In August 1990, plaintiff began to experience significant menorrhagia and blurred vision. Plaintiff alleged that as a result of medical negligence on the part of defendants, she developed diabetic ketoacidosis, pancreatitis, and an extremely elevated glucose level that ultimately left her in a diabetic coma for several days.
Based upon the foregoing allegations, plaintiff originally filed an action, with the benefit of counsel, against defendants Joel and Ellen Puleo, Pinehurst Women’s Clinic, and Moore Regional Hospital on 23 August 1993. On 11 September 1995, plaintiff, acting pro se, voluntarily dismissed that action without prejudice. On 10 September 1996, plaintiff, again acting pro se, brought this action against the Púleos and Pinehurst Women’s Clinic, making essentially the same allegations as in her first action.
Defendants served plaintiff with their answer and a request for admissions by certified mail. One request asked plaintiff to admit that all health care provided by all defendants was in conformity with the applicable standards of medical care. Plaintiff did not respond to defendants’ request for admissions.
*279At a pretrial hearing, defendants contended that they were entitled to judgment in their favor on two grounds. The first was that the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The second was that plaintiff had failed to respond to their request for admissions and therefore, by operation of law, had admitted that defendants had complied with the applicable standard of care. Plaintiff, appearing pro se at the hearing, denied receiving the request for admissions. In response, defendants presented an affidavit and return receipt tending to show that the request for admissions was sent to plaintiff’s home and was received and signed for by plaintiff’s husband on 7 October 1996. Plaintiff made no motion and did not otherwise request that the trial court allow her to withdraw or amend her admissions. She relied instead upon the mere allegations of negligence contained in her complaint. Nevertheless, the trial court stated that summary judgment was an “extreme measure” and entered an order denying defendants’ motion that summary judgment be granted in their favor because of plaintiff’s failure to respond to the request for admissions. However, the trial court entered a separate order concluding that plaintiff’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations and dismissing the action on that basis. Plaintiff appealed.
The Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the trial court’s order dismissing plaintiff’s action for failure to comply with the statute of limitations, concluding that the continuing-course-of-treatment doctrine tolled the running of the statute. Defendants have not sought to have us review that holding by the Court of Appeals, and no issue concerning it is before us.
The majority in the Court of Appeals, with Judge John C. Martin dissenting, affirmed the trial court’s separate order denying defendants’ motion seeking summary judgment in their favor because of plaintiff’s failure to respond to their request for admissions. Defendants now appeal to this Court, based upon Judge Martin’s dissent below, and contend that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming this order denying summary judgment.
In support of their single assignment of error, defendants again contend that because plaintiff never responded to their request for admissions, she admitted all facts as requested. Defendants further contend that since plaintiff failed to move that the trial court permit her to withdraw or amend the admissions, the admissions have become conclusively established facts in the case and constitute a valid basis for summary judgment. We agree.
*280Rule 36(a) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure provides in pertinent part that when a written request for admissions is properly served upon a party to a lawsuit,
[t]he matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or by his attorney.
N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rule 36(a) (1990) (emphasis added). Moreover, “[a]ny matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission.” N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rule 36(b) (1990) (emphasis added). Facts that are admitted under Rule 36(b) are sufficient to support a grant of summary judgment. Rhoads v. Bryant, 56 N.C. App. 635, 289 S.E.2d 637, disc. rev. denied, 306 N.C. 386, 294 S.E.2d 211 (1982).
In reaching its decision, the majority in the Court of Appeals relied upon Balson v. Dodds, 62 Ohio St. 2d 287, 405 N.E.2d 293 (1980). In Balsón, the Supreme Court of Ohio considered the language of Ohio’s Rule 36(b) and concluded that a trial court has discretion to decide whether a party has made a motion to withdraw or amend admissions in the absence of a formal written motion. Because the language of our Rule 36(b) is identical to the language of the Ohio rule, the majority of the Court of Appeals similarly concluded that the issue of whether a party has made a motion for withdrawal or amendment of admissions is a matter to be decided by the trial court in its discretion and that the trial court could have reasonably concluded here that plaintiff moved the court to withdraw or amend the admissions. We disagree. Without addressing or deciding the question of whether a trial court has the discretion to determine whether a party has made a “motion,” we conclude that the trial court could not have reasonably concluded that plaintiff made any motion in this case to withdraw or amend her admissions. Further, it is clear from the record on appeal that the trial court concluded that plaintiff had not made any such motion in this case.
In the instant case, defendants presented the trial court with a copy of the return receipt signed by plaintiff’s husband and an affidavit of service, thereby raising a presumption that plaintiff received the request for admissions. N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rules 4(j2)(2) and 5(b) *281(1997). Even though plaintiff denied receiving the request for admissions, she acknowledged that defendants had mailed the document to the correct address, and she made no attempt to rebut the presumption of receipt when questioned by the trial court. Therefore, we must presume that plaintiff was properly served with defendants’ request for admissions. Id.
In the request for admissions, defendants requested that plaintiff admit: (1) all health care provided by defendants was in conformity with the applicable standards of medical care; (2) as of the date plaintiff instituted this action, neither she nor any attorney on her behalf had consulted with a medical expert who expressed an opinion that the care provided by defendants failed to conform to the applicable medical standards; and (3) as of the date plaintiff instituted this action, no expert witness had evaluated any medical records relating to the medical attention given plaintiff by defendants. The record reveals that plaintiff did not respond to the request. Moreover, plaintiff did not move the court, expressly or impliedly, to withdraw or amend her admissions. Rather, plaintiff merely denied receiving defendants’ request for admissions; she never contested the substance of the request. The record further shows that the trial court did not in any manner undertake to allow plaintiff to withdraw or amend the admissions. Therefore, the facts are deemed admitted by plaintiff pursuant to Rule 36(a).
Whether to grant summary judgment was not a decision resting in the discretion of the trial court. Summary judgment is properly entered in favor of the moving party if the movant establishes that an essential element of the opposing party’s claim is nonexistent. Rorrer v. Cooke, 313 N.C. 338, 329 S.E.2d 355 (1985). One of the essential elements of a claim for medical negligence is that the defendant breached the applicable standard of medical care owed to the plaintiff. Because plaintiff’s admission that defendants did not breach the applicable standard of medical care was before the trial court in the present case, the trial court was required to grant defendants’ motion and enter an order of summary judgment in their favor.
The entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants in this case may appear to lead to a harsh result. Nevertheless, the Rules of Civil Procedure promote the orderly and uniform administration of justice, and all litigants are entitled to rely on them. Therefore, the rules must be applied equally to all parties to a lawsuit, without regard to whether they are represented by counsel.
*282For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the trial court erred by entering the order denying summary judgment for defendants based upon plaintiff’s admissions. Therefore, the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that order, over Judge Martin’s dissent, is reversed, and this case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for further remand to the Superior Court, Moore County, for entry of summary judgment for defendants.
REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED.