The Importance Of The Decision In The Helling Case

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Register to read the introduction… 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
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J. Hooper). What makes the T.J. Hooper case even more important is that Judge Hand proposed a formula for “calculating negligence” according to which if the cost of the burden of adequate precautions is greater than the cost of the injury multiplied by the possibility of occurrence, then the defendant may have met the standard of care. And if the cost of the burden is less than cost of injury multiplied by the probability of occurrence, then the defendant is guilty of negligence for not having met the standard of care. This formula is also known as the calculus of negligence (Grossman, Cearley, Cole, line 8). However, there is danger of making the meaning of reasonable prudence too broad: how can it be defined what potential risks exist in admiralty, medicine or any other industry that can be prevented by reasonable precautions? Will a doctor be held liable for not giving numerous diagnostic tests to all patients as simple and as non-expensive they may be even if the patients have minor complaints? Would neurosurgeons be considered negligent if they did not perform brain scans on every patient that complains about headaches, because a scan could detect …show more content…
A patient’s wife and children sued doctors and hospital for negligence in their failure to diagnose the decedent's abdominal aortic aneurysm (LexisNexis, Johnston v. St. Francis Medical Center). In their claim the plaintiffs argued that the doctors acted negligently in not interpreting the x-ray images correctly and misdiagnosing the patient’s condition. Several expert witnesses agreed that the defendants met the necessary standard of care while one expert witness found that the doctors failed to meet it. Perhaps the most relevant detail to mention in this discussion is that in contrast to Helling’s condition, diagnosing Johnston’s of aneurysm was “possible” but difficult enough that missing the diagnosis did not amount to not providing the standard of care (Moffett, Moore, n/p). In Helling, it was argued that a simple tonometry test would have helped discover glaucoma. In Johnston the patient complained of abdominal pain; according to one of the defendants, Dr. Eldridge, strong back pain is more indicative of aneurysm than abdominal pain which made it harder to diagnose the condition. The court ruled in favor of the defendants in Johnston and the Court of Appeals

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