Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Should a doctor be subject to liability to non-patients who suffer an injury because of negligence toward a patient?

Suppose a doctor misdiagnoses a contagious condition on a patient, and the patient then causes an injury to a third person.  Should the third person have a cause of action against the doctor?  This is a question that has been addressed by a number of cases, many of them involving sexually transmitted diseases.

Now, in a case called Jane Doe v Charles Cochran, available here, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held that a doctor may be liable to a third party infected with an STD after the doctor had mistakenly informed the patient he was free of infection.

Two judges dissented, here, arguing that it is wrong to extend the duty of the doctor to include non-patients.

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