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Gulfway General Hosp., Inc. v. Pursley

397 S.W.2d 93 (1965)

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Gulfway General Hosp., Inc. v. Pursley

Texas Court of Civil Appeals

397 S.W.2d 93 (1965)

Facts

Mrs. Pursley (plaintiff) severed the tip of her finger in her kitchen. The weather was cold and rainy, and there was ice on the ground outside. She walked over her own icy sidewalk and driveway to her car and drove slowly two miles over icy streets to Gulfway General Hospital, Inc. (Gulfway) (defendant), the nearest hospital. At Gulfway, Pursley and her daughter walked on the grass because it was not as slippery as the sidewalk. Pursley cautioned her daughter that they had to be very careful. When Pursley stepped on the porch of the emergency entrance, she slipped and fell on the ice, sustaining injuries. Pursley testified that she saw ice on the porch before she stepped on it, and that she knew it was slippery. Pursley further testified that although she knew there was a risk in walking on the porch, she had to walk on the porch because it was the only way to enter the hospital. Gulfway argued that Pursley should not recover, because she failed to establish that Gulfway owed her a duty to warn or protect her from the dangerous condition. Pursley conceded that she was an invitee who knew of the condition and appreciated the danger, and that ordinarily Gulfway would not owe her a duty. However, she argued that there should be an exception because she did not encounter the risk as a result of an intelligent choice but because she was under the compulsion of obtaining emergency medical treatment. Pursley further argued that a very high standard of care should be imposed in the maintenance of a hospital emergency entrance. The jury found that Gulfway’s negligence in allowing ice to remain on the porch proximately caused Pursley’s injuries; that Pursley knew the porch was icy and that she appreciated the danger of walking on it; and that walking on the icy porch was not the result of an unavoidable accident. Gulfway appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilson, J.)

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