Sparger v. Worley Hospital
Texas Supreme Court
547 S.W.2d 582 (1977)
Sylvia Caldwell (plaintiff) sued Worley Hospital, Inc. (hospital) and Dr. C. F. Sparger (defendants) for medical malpractice after a surgical team led by Sparger performed surgery on Caldwell’s abdomen and left a sponge in Caldwell’s abdominal cavity. The jury acquitted Sparger himself of wrongdoing and instead attributed Caldwell’s injuries to negligence on the part of the surgical team’s nurses. Based on the jury’s finding that Sparger did not control the nurses’ actions, the trial court refused to hold Sparger liable under the borrowed-servant doctrine. The court found that as the nurses’ employer, the hospital bore vicarious liability for their negligence. The court entered judgment solely against the hospital, which appealed. The appeal proceeded as an action between Sparger and the hospital. The intermediate appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment. The intermediate court applied the captain-of-the-ship doctrine to Sparger and held the hospital and Sparger jointly and severally liable to Caldwell. Sparger appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pope, J.)
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