A Tale of Two Lawsuits
Journal of Health & Biomedical Law, Forthcoming
20 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2012 Last revised: 27 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2012
Imagine two patients, Mal and Gary, are admitted to neighboring rooms in a Boston teaching hospital. While hospitalized, they both suffer serious injuries, but the mechanisms are different: Mal’s are caused by a drug interaction that her medical team knew, or should have known, would cause her injury when they delivered it to her. Gary’s injuries, by contrast, were caused by a contract maintenance worker who dropped a fixture on him while attempting to make a repair in the patient’s room.
Both patients have a right to bring claims for the negligence that injured them. Only Mal’s, however, will be framed as a medical malpractice case, while Gary’s will be a framed as a garden-variety negligence claim. This essay will examine some of the ways the litigation and trial of their respective cases will differ and how it will impact their cases’ outcomes.
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