Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Physician Liability: Was Accident Foreseeable By Treating Physician?

A colleague pointed out this WSJ Law Blog post via the WSJ Health Blog reporting on a ruling made by the Massachusetts's Supreme Judicial Court. The ruling found a physician liable for failing to warn his patient about the side effects of the medications and the potential danger of driving while taking them.

The Boston Globe reports on the case and a copy of the slip opinion in the decision of Lyn-Ann Coombes, administratix v. Roland J. Florio, SJC-09869 December 10, 2007 can be found on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts decision website.

Although I have not had a chance to read the full opinion, the legal question that comes to mind (and which depends upon the facts in each case) is whether it was foreseeable by the physician that the patient (tortfeasor driver) was likely to have an accident? Remember Palsgraff? Was a duty owed and how broad should that duty be?

The blog post indicates that Justice Cordy's dissent states that the ruling "introduces a new audience to which the physician must attend -- everyone who might come in contact with the patient."

1 comment:

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