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Thompson v. Sun City Community Hospital, Inc.

688 P.2d 605 (1984)

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Thompson v. Sun City Community Hospital, Inc.

Arizona Supreme Court

688 P.2d 605 (1984)

Facts

In 1976 Michael Jessee was brought to a hospital in Arizona operated by Sun City Community Hospital, Inc. (the hospital) (defendant). Michael was 13 years old. Steven Lipsky (defendant) was the emergency room physician on call. Lipsky examined Michael and consulted with the on-call vascular surgeon, Jon Hillegas (defendant). The physicians concluded Michael needed surgery. Michael was then transferred to a county hospital, during which his condition deteriorated. Neither Lipsky nor Hillegas directed the transfer. Although Michael received the surgery once his condition stabilized, he suffered a permanent injury to his leg. Michael’s mother, Ada Thompson (plaintiff), filed a malpractice action against the hospital and Hillegas and Lipsky (collectively, the physicians). At trial, the physicians testified that Michael had been transferred because his family did not have the ability to pay for treatment and that Michael should have received immediate surgery. The trial court instructed the jury to determine whether the hospital and physicians had breached a duty of care and, if so, whether the breach aggravated the ultimate harm Michael suffered. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the hospital and the physicians. Thompson appealed. The intermediate appeals court affirmed. Thompson appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Feldman, J.)

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