Monday, November 11, 2013

Salinetro v. Nystrom case brief

Salinetro v. Nystrom case brief summary
341 So. 2D 1059 (1977)

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. 
  • Appellant filed a claim against appellee doctor. 
  • Appellant's gynecologist was not qualified by the court as an expert witness and appellee was granted a directed verdict. 
  • Appellant contended there was sufficient evidence to present to the jury a prima facie case of malpractice.

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.
Also see: Abortion legal definition -

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