Scenario (based on a real California case): A female patient has been taken to the emergency room of a local hospital for an attempted suicide by overdosing on medication. Due to the medical staff determining she posed a danger to herself, they admitted her to the hospital and put her on a 72-hour hold. The patient’s primary physician was contacted and agreed to the admission for treatment related to the overdose. During the 72-hour hold, a nurse, following the physician’s order, assisted the patient as she walked down a hospital corridor. The patient was wearing a rubber slipper that caught on the floor, causing her to fall and fracture a bone in her leg. The patient sued the hospital for negligence and premises liability.
Applying the principle elements of a negligence cause of action, discuss the possible theories by which liability could be found in this case.
- What would the plaintiff have to prove to establish premises liability on the part of the hospital?
- What would the plaintiff have to prove to establish that the nurse was negligent? How might she establish the standard of care at trial?