Long V Nursing Home

1847 Words 8 Pages
However the relevant regulations are interpreted, a court would likely find that “[a] nursing home has a general duty to protect its patients from injuring themselves,” and “[e]vidence of a known risk is often the basis of a finding of negligence.” Smith, supra, at § 20.03[5], [6]. For example, in the illustrative and persuasive, but non-binding case of Long v. HCA Health Servs. of Tenn., Inc., 2002 Tenn. App. Lexis 211, a patient at a nursing home was identified as being a high risk for sustaining injury due to falling. On one occasion, a nurse discovered that the patient had emerged from her chair to put on her paints. Id at 3. Upon the discovery, the nurse assisted the patient back into her chair and instructed her not to get up until he …show more content…
“It seems plain that if the illegal act is the immediate, active cause of the damage, recovery is rightly refused. But it is by no means so clear that public policy demands that, if the illegal act was simply a remote link in the chain of causation, the action shall be barred, and the almost unanimous opinion of the authorities is strong evidence that it does not.” Greene v. Guarino, 25 Va. Cir. 162, 166 (1991) (quoting Davis, Plaintiff 's Illegal Act as a Defense in Actions of Tort, 18 Harv. L. Rev. 505, 513)). Rather, when a suicide is the result of a “breach of a specific duty of care owed by the defendant to the person committing suicide . . . the well-settled rule is that liability exists only if the suicide proximately results from the negligence of the hospital or its employees.” C.T. Drechsler, Civil liability for death by suicide, 11 A.L.R.2d 751. “Such negligence is in turn held to require proof that the hospital neglected its duty of safeguarding and protecting the patient from any known or reasonably apprehensible damage from himself by not exercising reasonable care.” Id. The most important factor in determining whether the facility breach a duty to protect a patient in this regard is whether the facility could reasonably have foreseen that the patient might harm himself. …show more content…
When Alcoy, was decided in 2006, it appears as though that case was the first instance where Virginia courts endeavored to make a nuanced distinction between medical malpractice and ordinary negligence committed by a medical provider. Prior to that case, in 1994, the Supreme Court of Virginia endeavored to interpret a provision of the Medical Malpractice Act that requires an expert to testify as to the relevant standard of care in a Medical Malpractice case without first determining whether the case was, in fact, a medical malpractice case. Beverly Enter.-Va. v. Nicholes, 441 S.E.2d 1, 1 (1994) (“The primary issue we consider in this medical malpractice action is . . . (emphasis added)). Nevertheless, in Beverly, that even in medical malpractice actions, the general rule requiring expert testimony is abrogated to the extent that “the alleged act of negligence clearly lies within the range of the jury’s common knowledge and experience.” Beverly Enters.-Va., 441 S.E.2d at

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