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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
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Foreseeability and Medical Negligence Redux–Holland America on the Hook

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I received a comment from a local emergency room physician about the scope of foreseeability (espeically as it pertained to medical negligence).

The basic rule of liability for harm resulting from treatment of injuries caused by a tort-feasor’s negligent conduct appears in Restatement (Second) of Torts s 457 (1965):

If the negligent actor is liable for another’s bodily injury, he is also subject to liability for any additional bodily harm resulting from normal efforts of third persons in rendering aid which the other’s injury reasonably requires, irrespective of whether such acts are done in a proper or a negligent manner.

As the Washington judiciary has observed:

This rule has long been applied in this state. See Adams v. Allstate Ins. Co., 58 Wn.2d 659, 669, 364 P.2d 804 (1961); Martin v. Cunningham, 93 Wn. 517, 518, 161 P. 355 (1916). See also DeNike v. Mowery, 69 Wn.2d 357, 368-371, 418 P.2d 1010 (1966). The rationale of the rule as applied to medical treatment is that negligent or harmful medical treatment is within the scope of the risk created by the original negligent conduct. See Restatement (Second) of Torts s 457, Comment b at p. 497 (1965).

Lindquist v. Dengel, 92 Wash.2d 257, 595 P.2d 934 (1979). Hopefully this clarifies and expands on my earlier entry.