Discussion 03.3: Injured Patient

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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.

  1. What would the plaintiff have to prove to establish premises liability on the part of the hospital?
  2. What would the plaintiff have to prove to establish that the nurse was negligent? How might she establish the standard of care at trial?
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