Here is a copy of what I posted for students enrolled in Medical Law and Ethics. Click here to view the fictional fact pattern.
To: Christine H. Williams,President/CEO
Christine H. Williams Honorary Hospital and Health Care Center for Academic and Medical Excellence
Re: Medical Legal Claim
We have reviewed the complaint and determined that based on the facts alleged, there does appear to be a basis for one or more legal causes of action against this hospital and personnel.
Possible Tort Claims
Medical negligence requires Duty (standard of care), Breach (failure to meet the standard), Injury (pain/appearance of remaining warts, AND warts removed without consent) and Causation (the pain from the warts is directly caused by surgical removal (back and left ankle) and failure to remove as agreed (right ankle).
A further negligence case may be alleged against the hospital and perhaps the security officer(s), for failing to protect this patient as the other patient ran by, pursued by security personnel.
Additionally, this patient alleges she had warts removed from her left ankle and her back.
Written records and oral recollections indicate she consented to removal from her right ankle only.
Without the defense of oral, written or implied consent, a claim for battery, “harmful or offensive touching,” appears legally possible.
[Note: had the removal been confined to the ankle, it would be possible that this claim would be subsumed under "negligence" only. But with the addition of surgical intervention on the patient's back, battery is a likely additional claim. ]
Further, a cause of action for battery could technically be brought against the other patient for bruising her. A simple bruise by itself probably would result, if at all, in minimal court-imposed damages.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress:
The patient reports that removal of the warts, plus a “big ugly” bruise on her arm, impacts her as follows: “I can’t believe this happened! I am traumatized.”
As we know, emotional distress is usually not successful unless the emotion is severe, intentional, outside of regular daily experience, and results, most probably, in emotionally induced physical symptoms.
We are not convinced this case qualifies for a successful claim in this tort.
[I didn't even think of this when I wrote the assignment. Students: always keeping me on my toes . . . ]
Tune in tomorrow for continued analysis: contracts, criminal, parties and jurisdictional issues. The suspense has you at the edge of your seat . . . !!