Essay on Helling V. Carey

4551 Words Sep 13th, 2013 19 Pages
1. Introduction Rarely any physician intends to harm patients when he or she provides treatment to them. Patients see physicians and specialists in full faith that they will get help with a condition. What complicates the patient-doctor relationship is that the outcome of each patient’s treatment is different because of individual health conditions and the course of treatment chosen by the doctor. Problems arise when a patient is not satisfied with care provided by the doctor or in extreme cases when a patient dies. Since most of the time it is hard to clearly determine whether the outcome was solely a result of the course of treatment chosen by the doctor or whether other factors played a role too, quite often patients take their …show more content…
Perhaps, the first explanation seems more likely given the circumstances of Helling where liability was imposed absent of fault. The decision in the Helling case has had overall negative reviews and is not popular among most legal scholars and law professionals. In essence, by using the concept of
“reasonable prudence” the court held that it requires a standard of care that was higher than that actually practiced by the profession (J. Stuart Showalter, p.87). Even in Washington Helling is considered an exceptional circumstance and the Washington state legislature later enacted a statute to overturn it (Kelly, Manguno-Mire, p.2). Subsequently, most courts have rejected the case holdings relying on the professional custom model in establishing the standard of care instead (Jacobson, Kanna, p.13). 3. A discussion of several cases involving alleged negligence is due to help to understand the context and the decision in Helling. a) The T. J. Hooper The decision in the Helling case was greatly influenced by Judge L. Hand’s writing in the landmark T.J. Hooper case decision. The T.J. Hooper dealt with negligence and standard of care in admiralty. The owners of the tugboats were found guilty of negligence for not having radios installed on the tugboats, which resulted in them being unable to foresee a storm and the barges sunk. Here, again, the question revolves around what was done and what should have

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