advertisement

Monday, February 11, 2013

Emotional Distress From An Incorrectly Diagnosed STD: Molien v. Kaiser Foundation Hospital (1980)


What would you do if your spouse or partner came home from a doctor's appointment and told you he or she had syphilis?

If you are like most people, you would freak out.*

Your partner would get massive amounts of penicillin, and you would get a blood test to see if you had the sexually transmitted disease, too.

And then, the blame would begin. You would accuse your partner of cheating. Your partner would accuse you. Both of you would deny it. Neither of you would believe the other one. Anger, betrayal, disgust, rumors, fear of worse communicable diseases. Divorce or separation, maybe. It would be horrible, and it would likely ruin your relationship, at least for a substantial period of time.

Then, let's say, out of the blue, your partner gets a call from the doctor's office. They made a mistake--no one in your household had ever actually contracted syphilis.

Now what would you do?

If you were like the plaintiff in the landmark legal case Molien v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (1980), you would sue.

In this case, Mr. Molien's wife was mistakenly diagnosed and treated for syphilis. She accused Mr. Molien of having an extramarital affair, even though he tested negative for the disease. At the time of the lawsuit, the two had initiated divorce proceedings.

Mr. Molien sued the hospital for "negligently inflicted emotional distress" and "loss of consortium."

A quick aside into legal terminology: Negligently inflicted emotional distress is pretty much what it sounds like. The key here is that, prior to this case, courts had always found that emotional distress needed to be coupled with physical injury for there to be a "cause of action" (basically, something for which you could sue and potentially recover damages).

Can you sue the internet for
loss of consortium?
Loss of consortium refers to when a person misses out on whatever benefits of a family relationship are available to him/her because of the negligence of someone else. For example, a husband who can no longer spend quality time with his wife, depend on her for her share of running the household, have sex, etc. may sue for loss of consortium. Note: if the wife in this situation were to die because of the negligence of someone else, that is not loss of consortium. That is wrongful death.

Now back to the case: The trial court ruled that Mr. Molien did not have a cause of action (a valid reason to sue) on either of his allegations--there was no negligently inflicted emotional distress because he was not the patient and was not physically harmed, and there was no loss of consortium for similar reasons.

Mr. Molien appealed the case to the California Supreme Court, who agreed to hear it. In 1980, the Court issued its ruling in four main parts:

1. The alleged wrongdoing by the hospital was directed at both the wife and the husband in this case, even though the husband was not the patient.

2. The "risk of harm to the husband was reasonably foreseeable and, thus, [the hospital] owed the husband a duty to exercise due care in diagnosing the physical condition of his wife."

3. It did not matter that Mr. Molien did not suffer a physical injury. He still had a cause of action for "emotional distress."

4. There was also a cause of action for "loss of consortium."

This case is groundbreaking for two main reasons. First, it reinforced the notion that the spouse or partner of a patient could be considered a "direct victim" of medical negligence, even if that spouse/partner had not been the actual patient. Second, it set the precedent that a direct victim does not need to sustain a physical injury in order to be a victim of negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.
www.CherryCreekPsychology.com
www.Facebook.com/drmaxwachtel
www.Twitter.com/mwachtel
www.YouTube.com/drmaxwachtel

*This is anecdotal data, not supported by research. But, seriously, wouldn't you freak out?


9 comments:

Hence, nowadays every one of the popular celebrities on earth which includes needless to say the particular fake rolex uk glimmering gems are typical showing off Chanel perfume, that plays a part in the particular reputation and also glamour connected with Chanel's brand name, Amount 5, as an example. Thus, together with hundred years regarding knowledge inside marketing the brand name, hublot replica uk is not any automobile accident in which nowadays every person desires to very own Chanel perfume and also everything that a girl wants nowadays is always to pretty any section retailer in which right now there are sure to become cabinets filled up with Chanel perfume baby bottles regarding diverse measurements, fragrances and also styles. It's also advisable to study your chosen fake omega on the web since there are numerous lower price sites that may promote that you' jar regarding the girl perfume at under any section retailer. Simply you may recognize that the Cartier see might be a Low-cost and also it is possible to retain fake hublot a remedy in that case likely.

This simply means they can organize how, when, and where to study and most importantly the study skills they want to undertake. However it Grabmyessay online is the role of a guardian to instruct accordingly so that the individual undertakes the right study skills.

Various things do happen to students, therefore I always recommend to apply for essay writing assistance to prevent stress from happening in the first place.

Application concerns that have been updated with Apple Replica Watches release dateCook, because there are times when Apple has introduced a new Replica watches UK , if you have to always release or past, if all parts of the world will be able to handbag replica more or less buy at the same time, all of the insight, staggered are you I did not reveal is.Apple price of previously entry-level Apple Rolex Daytona , dollar 229 pounds, it was confirmed that the current is equal to about $ 349 Replica handbags .

Post a Comment

Share

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More