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Click here for the full text of this decision Whether failure to provide the patient with an escort returning her to the waiting room resulted in her striking her head is something within the general experience and common sense of a factfinder. No scientific theorems or concepts outside the general intelligence of a juror are implicated in that assessment, so expert testimony on the matter was not needed. FACTS:Eighty-eight-year-old Eloise Haws went to Dr. Martin Schneider for treatment of dizzy spells. Haws had previously seen Schneider for the spells and had been transported from the examination room to the waiting room by wheelchair. On this visit, after receiving an audiology test, Schneider’s employee, Diana Wise, walked beside Haws, who used a cane, to the waiting room. Before they got there, though, Wise left Haws’ side. Haws suffered another dizzy spell and fell, hitting her head, an injury that ultimately required several surgeries. Haws filed a medical-malpractice suit against Schneider and Wise for their alleged negligence in failing to escort her safely to the waiting room. At trial, one of Haws’ experts (Dr. Paschall) said that Schneider, like all doctors, owes a duty of care to his patients from the moment they walk in the office door to the moment they leave, no matter what. One of Wise’s experts (Dr. Dennis) said that it was reasonable and prudent to escort patients having received the kind of test Haws received to the waiting room. On cross-examination, Dennis also admitted that the degree of caution to take while escorting a patient changes based on the patient’s condition. A jury found for Haws. Schneider and Wise argue on appeal that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to establish: 1. the applicable standard of care; 2. a breach of that standard by Wise; and 3. a causal nexus between the breach and Haws’ injuries. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court characterizes Paschall’s testimony as “no evidence” because it amounted to a strict liability standard for insuring and guaranteeing the safety of their patients, which is more than is allowed by law. The court does, however, find the evidence presented by Dennis to be sufficient to support the establishment of a duty of care. A rational factfinder could reasonably deduce that Wise had a duty to escort the 88-year-old woman, who used a cane, who had just undergone tests for dizziness and who once had to use a wheelchair for the same condition, safely to the waiting room. The court also notes Wise’s testimony that she was not physically capable of helping Haws in the event that she did fall. The court also concludes that the evidence supported a finding that Wise breached that duty of care. As mentioned above, based on Haws’ condition, Wise and Schneider should have seen to it that Haws had “not only of an escort reasonably capable of preventing her fall but also one who would reasonably prevent her fall as she journeyed from the examining to the waiting room.” Finally, the court rules there was evidence of cause-in-fact, a reasonable probability that the act or omission gave rise to Haws’ harm. The court rejects Schneider’s and Wise’s suggestion that causation can only be established in a medical-malpractice case through expert testimony, which was lacking in this case. The court instead finds that assessing whether a failure to provide Haws with a safe return to the waiting room led to Haws striking her head “is something within the general experience and common sense of a factfinder” and expert testimony was unnecessary. The court also concludes that the injury was foreseeable. “If, according to Dennis, an escort is needed for purposes of safety and if that escort must be capable of preventing a patient like Haws from falling, then logic compels that the risk of falling unless a capable escort is provided is foreseeable.” OPINION:Quinn, J.; Quinn and Reavis, JJ., and Boyd, S.J. DISSENT:Davis, J. The dissent would find the evidence legally, but not factually, sufficient. Dennis said an “escort” was required, but never defined what the term “escort” meant.

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