This assignment gives you an opportunity to consider the facts of a case potentially involving claims of negligence. You will have the opportunity to analyze the possible claims, as well as the potential defenses to any claim presented by the plaintiff. The facts of the case are described below.
Following an automobile accident, a 46-year-old man was brought to the hospital emergency department by an ambulance. The patient seemed to be alert, was able to answer questions, and claimed to be suffering from a great deal of pain. The physician administered 15 milligrams of morphine intravenously. The patient needed blood but refused a transfusion. After being observed in the emergency department for several hours, the patient was placed on a medical-surgical unit for observation. The following morning, he was unresponsive, and he was eventually pronounced dead. It was later discovered that he had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. The night of the accident, he had injected heroin and drank several shots of tequila and multiple cans of beer. He had not disclosed any of this to the doctors or nurses treating him. Several years later, his estate sued the physician, claiming medical malpractice.
Analyze the possible outcomes of the lawsuit under one of the following scenarios:
- If death was the result of overdose
- If death was the result of failure to administer blood
- If death was the result of subdural hematoma
In your short paper, analyze the potential success of a claim for negligence under one of the three possible scenarios. Include a detailed discussion of each element of the negligence claim and why that element is met or not met. Discuss the possible defenses that could be reasonably asserted by the doctor to each claim, and why that defense might apply. Lastly, include a paragraph describing which, if any, claim you believe might be the most successful against the doctor and why.
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