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Where a health care provider in the course of rendering health care services supplies a prosthetic device to be implanted into a patient, the health care provider is not "engaged in the business of selling" prostheses for purposes of strict products liability.
Plaintiffs filed a suit against defendant Catholic Medical Center, alleging that it was strictly liable to plaintiff, patient, because it had sold a prosthesis with a design defect that was in an unreasonably dangerous condition, and liable to plaintiff, patient's wife, who suffered a loss of consortium. Defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that it was not a "seller of goods" for purposes of strict products liability, and that absent the strict liability claim, the loss of consortium claim could not stand. The trial court granted the motion. Plaintiffs contend that this finding was error.
Was the defendant health care provider, which supplied a defective prosthesis in the course of delivering health care services, engaged in the business of selling for purposes of strict products liability?
The Court held that the trial court did not err in granting defendant's motion to dismiss. The Court held that where defendant, in the course of rendering health care services, supplied a prosthetic device to be implanted into a patient, defendant was not "engaged in the business of selling" prostheses for purposes of strict products liability. According to the Court, the essence of the relationship between the hospital and the patient was the provision of professional medical services necessary to effectuate the implantation of the prosthesis; it did not relate to the business of supplying the product to the patient, which was generally the essence of the transaction between a seller and a consumer. Accordingly, the decision of the trial court was affirmed.