Parents Suffer Severe Emotional Distress Due To Malpractice At Sacramento Hospital, Part 4 of 6

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical negligence case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Molien v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, supra, 27 Cal.3d 916, also has no application here. There, the family member, the husband of the patient, sued based on the emotional distress he suffered when his wife, following the dictate of the health care provider, informed him that she had a sexually transmitted disease. The transmission of this information caused a substantial disruption of the marriage and substantial emotional distress on the part of the husband. As it turned out, the wife did not have a sexually transmitted disease. In Molien, the doctor breached a duty because the doctor directed his patient, the wife, to advise the husband of the diagnosis. Here ,Gillian Smith, the patient, not the family member, is suing to recover damages she Kelly allegedly suffered because she exposed her family to an allegedly contagious disease. As alleged, no defendant directed Gillian Smith to advise a family member regarding any diagnosis. Molien does not apply.

Directly on point is Huggins v. Longs Drug Stores (1993) 6 Cal.4th 124. In that case, parents tried to sue under a direct victim theory to recover NIED because they had unwittingly given their two-month-old son an overdose of medication, causing their son substantial injuries. The parents took a prescription for their son to a Longs Drug Stores pharmacy to be filled. The pharmacy wrote directions for five times the dosage ordered by the doctor.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The parents apparently gave the dosage as set forth in the pharmacy’s directions. The child became very lethargic. The parents became concerned and suffered emotional distress. The Supreme Court held that the parents could not recover as direct victims. No duty was owed to them. In this case, Gillian Smith cannot recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress under a direct victim theory for witnessing any suffering by another family member, including her daughter. (See Part 5 of 6.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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