When medical malpractice and ordinary negligence are in one case.
THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE HELD THAT BECAUSE THE COMPLAINT INCLUDED CLAIMS THAT THE DEFENDANTS WERE NEGLIGENT AS TO BOTH THE MEDICAL TREATMENT AND THE ORDINARY CARE THEY PROVIDED, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY GRANTING THE MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON GROUNDS THAT THE GRAVAMEN OF THE COMPLAINT SOUNDED IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE. The court held that the Administratrix may pursue recovery under a negligence per se theory and the TAPA for her claims based upon ordinary negligence. The court affirmed the Court of Appeals on the punitive damages issue. The case was remanded to the trial court for proceedings consistent with the court's opinion. The costs of the appeal were taxed one-half to the Administratrix and one-half to the defendants.
BECAUSE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IS ACATEGORY OF NEGLIGENCE, THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS IS SUBTLE: THERE IS NO RIGID ANALYTICAL LINE SEPARATING THE TWO CAUSES OF ACTION. The court cited a case, which involved laboratory paternity testing in which the court stated, inter alia, that "the distinguishing feature between ordinary negligence and medical malpractice cases is whether 'a plaintiff's claim is for injuries resulting from negligent medical treatment." The court observed that it had embraced the standard adopted by New York courts for distinguishing an ordinary negligence claim from one based upon medical malpractice. Simply put, the New York courts hold that when a claim alleges negligent conduct, which constitutes or bears a substantial relationship to the rendition of medical treatment by a medical professional, the medical malpractice statute is applicable. Conversely, when the conduct alleged is not substantially related to the rendition of medical treatment by a medical profession, the medical malpractice statute does not apply. Thus, the court concluded that because the complaint included claims that the defendants were negligent as to both the medical treatment and the ordinary care provided the decedent, the trial court erred by granting the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment on the grounds that the gravamen of the suit sounded in medical malpractice. Moreover, the Administratrix could pursue recovery under a negligence per se theory and the TAPA for her claims based on ordinary negligence. A dissenting opinion was filed by one judge who dissented in part. Estate of French v. Stratford House, E2008-00539 (1/26/2011) - TN
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|Publication:||Medical Law's Regan Report|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2011|
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