Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wilson v. Merritt (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 12, 2006)

Listen to what Justice Moore says in this opinion regarding the defendant's claim, in this medical malpractice action, that the trial court properly granted summary judgment on the basis of causation because the plaintiff would (allegedly indisputably) have undergone the operation even had he been informed of the relevant risks:

"A jury reasonably could determine that an adult paraplegic who was suffering some problems with stiffness and flexibility, but was functional in his then current condition, who was seeing some improvement in his condition through physical therapy, who had suffered devastating damage from surgery in the past, and who was so concerned about the potential risks associated with the recommended procedure that he took his mother with him to question the medical doctor on the topic, would indeed turn down the opportunity for the procedure if informed that it could result in a loss of his remaining mobility due to a torn rotator cuff or a fractured bone. . . . [T]here is an order of magnitude in the difference in the quality of life of a paraplegic, who is at least able to get to the toilet by himself, and that of a functional quadriplegic, who cannot
even to that. We reverse and remand."

Sounds right to me.