Sacramento Surgeon Liable For Patient’s Wrongful Death Under “Respondeat Superior” Theory, Part 10 of 13

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.)

3. There is no argument that Ms. Smith was under the exclusive control of defendant when the injury occurred.

At all times during the surgery when the negligence occurred, Ms. Smith was under the sole care and control of Dr. Hall. Dr. Hall was the surgeon and captain of the ship . See Fields v. Yusuf (2006)144 Cal. App. 4th 1381,51 Cal. Rptr. 3d 277, which reasoned the test for exclusive control has become one of right of control rather than actual control, and a plaintiff need not identify the particular negligent person or the particular instrumentality that cause his or her injuries. When a plaintiff receives unusual injuries while unconscious and in the course of medical treatment, all those defendant who had any control over his or her body or instrumentalities which might have caused the injuries may properly be called upon to meet the inference of negligence by giving an explanation of their conduct. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Also, a special relationship exists between a patient and a surgeon during surgery. The patient is usually unconscious rendering him or her helpless and vulnerable; the patient often has limited understanding of the surgical procedures and no ability to control what is happening; the patient has placed complete trust and confidence in the surgeon to exercise due care.

Fields also holds the “captain of the ship” doctrine imposes liability on a surgeon under the well-settled theory of respondeat superior for the acts of those under the surgeon’s “special supervision and control” during the operation. Thus, plaintiff was under the sole care and control of defendants throughout the surgery.

(d) There is also no argument that plaintiff performed no voluntary act that contributed to the injury

Plaintiff was under anesthesia; certainly no “voluntary action” of plaintiff caused or contributed to the event that harmed her.

Ms. Smith was under general anesthesia on the operating table when the negligence occurred and therefore could not have voluntarily consented to anything at the time! (See Part 11 of 13.)

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

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