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Even though there is evidence of malpractice sufficient for submission to the jury on that issue, a verdict must be directed in favor of the defendant where there is no evidence adduced which would give rise to a reasonable inference that the defendant's acts of malpractice were the direct and proximate cause of the injury to the plaintiff. The patient cannot recover damages unless the act of malpractice is the direct and proximate cause of injury. Loss of chance of recovery, standing alone, is not an injury from which damages will flow.
Appellant Margaret Cooper’s son was involved in an accident while on his bike and was taken to appellee Good Samaritan Hospital and treated by appellee doctor and appellee medical practice. Appellant instituted a wrongful death action against appellees, alleging negligent treatment by appellees which resulted in her son's death. The trial court granted appellees' motion for a directed verdict, based upon insufficient evidence of proximate cause, which was affirmed on appeal. Appellant sought further review.
Was there insufficient evidence of proximate cause between appellees’ alleged negligence and appellant’s son’s death, thereby warranting the grant of appellees’ motion for a directed verdict?
The Court affirmed, holding that there was insufficient evidence that appellee doctor's negligence denied appellant's decedent the probability of survival. The Court held that evidence of malpractice was not sufficient because the proximate cause issue connecting the malpractice directly to the death was not established. Further, there was no agency by estoppel based on appellee doctor's employment in appellee hospital, which would have made the other appellees liable. Accordingly, the court held that the directed verdict was properly entered.