Friday, October 19, 2012

Salintero v. Nystrom case brief

Salintero v. Nystrom (1977)
341 So. 2d 1059

Procedural History
•    Appellants, patient and her husband, sought review of the order of the trial court (Florida) that entered an adverse final judgment pursuant to a directed verdict for appellees in appellants’ action for alleged medical malpractice.

•    Appellant patient sustained back injuries that resulted from a car accident. She submitted a personal injury claim through her insurance carrier, which required she have a medical examination. X-rays were taken of her lower back without inquiry as to whether she was pregnant. Unbeknownst to appellant she was pregnant at the time of the x-ray, her doctor confirmed the pregnancy after multiple tests, and she was advised to terminate pregnancy because the fetus had been exposed. Appellant had a therapeutic abortion and the pathology report stated the fetus was dead at the time of abortion.

•    Will A party will be liable for negligent conduct only if such conduct causes the injury in question?

•    A party will be liable for negligent conduct only if such conduct causes the injury in question.

•    Liability for negligence depends on a showing that the injury suffered by plaintiff was caused by the alleged wrongful act or omission to act by the defendant. Merely to show a connection between the negligence and the injury is sufficient to establish liability.
•    The court found even if appellee’s conduct fell below standard of care by failing to inquire, if asked about pregnancy she would not have known and her doctor was not qualified to pass on the standard of care of other physicians in the community as to x-ray diagnosis. The case was affirmed.

•    The court affirmed case holding that the directed verdict was proper because appellant patient did not know she was pregnant so if appellee doctor failed to inquire his act was not the cause directly related to the injury because the x-ray would still have been performed. Appellant’s doctor was not qualified as an expert because appellee was a radiologist.

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