It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Sutter, or any skilled nursing facility.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
In considering whether res ipsa loquitur applies, it is not for the trial court to ascertain whether defendant’s negligence is the more likely explanation of the accident; it should merely determine whether plaintiff has produced sufficient substantial evidence to permit a jury to draw such an inference, and where reasonable men might differ on the balance of probabilities it should be left to the jury. Ghema v. Ford Motor Co. (1966) 246 Cal. App. 2d 639, 55 Cal. Rptr. 94.
Where – as here – the evidence conflicts or is subject to different inferences, it is for the jury, under proper instructions, to determine whether each of the conditions necessary to bring into play the res ipsa loquitur rule are present. Robledo v. Los Angeles (1967) 252 Cal. App. 2d 285,60 Cal. Rptr. 328. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
In considering the applicability of res ipsa loquitur, it is not for the trial court to ascertain whether a defendant’s negligence is the more likely explanation of the accident; the court merely determines whether the plaintiff has produced sufficient substantial evidence to permit a jury to draw such an inference; and, where reasonable men may differ as to the balance of the probabilities, the trial judge must leave that question to the jury. Albers v. Greyhound Corp. (1970) 4 Cal. App. 3d 463, 84 Cal. Rptr. 846.
Additionally, the law supports a derivative liability of surgeon instruction per Fields, supra. The “captain of the ship” doctrine imposes liability on a surgeon under the doctrine of respondeat superior for the acts of those under the surgeons special supervision and control during the procedure.
As evidenced by the Declarations of Michael A. K. Dan and John Brown, M.D., and as set forth by the attached Separate Statement of Disputed and Undisputed Facts, a triable issue of fact exists as to whether defendants acted within the standard of care relating to its treatment of decedent.
For these reasons, defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment must fail.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.