Discussing a medical malpractice case

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Reference no: EM131423190

A Medical Malpractice Case Study


Prepare a paper discussing a medical malpractice case using the IRAC (issue, rule, analysis, and conclusion) formula. You will discuss any relevant ethical theories involved and analyze the outcome, applying legal concepts.

The purpose of a case study in general is to apply what you learned to a real-life or hypothetical situation where you analyze, test, and propose solutions to the case. You may have a problem to solve and be asked to present potential solutions. Or you may have a situation to analyze and describe why (or why not) certain events were effective or successful. In processing a case study, you will have to apply research, reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical skills to identify underlying problems, causes, and/or related factors and make decisions.

Discuss your chosen case and provide an outline for the project.

In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:

  • Analyze why knowledge of the legal system is important for healthcare professionals, including the distinctions between the law, ethics, and bioethics
  • Compare and contrast ethical theories and discuss decision-making models applicable to healthcare providers
  • Examine the legal environment in healthcare, including the physician-patient relationship, medical records and patient confidentiality, and professional ?liability and medical malpractice
  • Explore the laws impacting the delivery of healthcare, including HIPAA, the False Claims Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and laws ?impacting the workplace
  • Analyze the role of professional regulation, the standard of care, and codes of ethics in healthcare providers' accountability to self, their profession, their ?patients, and the public
  • Analyze specific legal, ethical, and bioethical issues faced by healthcare administrators, providers, and researchers, including protection of life, the right ?to self-determination, and end-of-life issues ?Prompt

The first step of the project is to locate a medical malpractice case that interests you. The case can involve malpractice or negligence claims against any type of healthcare provider-for example, a doctor, nurse, dentist, or chiropractor or an institutional provider such as a hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility. The case you choose must be from a published decision of the court (rather than a case reported in a secondary source, such as a newspaper or internet article).

Published decisions are primary sources of law that create precedent for other courts to follow in similar cases. For more information about judicial decisions, and for help on where to find them, visit the Library of Congress Law Library.

Review these malpractice decisions to get familiar with the structure and format of a typical court decision:

  • Deane v. Mount Sinai Hospital - http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2009/2009_52030.htm
  • Carpentier v. North Shore University Hospital -http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/pdfs/2010/2010_33048.pdf

These cases were found by searching the New York Official Reports website using the terms "medical malpractice" and "wrongful death." To locate the published court decisions in your state, browse the resources available at the Library of Congress Law Library or visit FindLaw's Cases and Codes section, which contains resources and links for cases by state.

Use CA state: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/summary/search/?court=ca-supreme-court&topic=cs_59&search=Search

It is easier to find medical malpractice cases in state court as opposed to federal court, so you may want to start with cases in your local state court. As you get further into your research, you will discover that some court opinions are short, and some are much longer and contain significantly more detail. For this assignment, it is important to choose a case that not only interests you but also contains a detailed description of the facts and circumstances so you have enough information for your analysis. The two examples provided above are good samples of the kind of opinion you should try to find. When researching cases, make sure the one you ultimately select contains enough information about the case to address each of the bullet points below. Your paper should contain three parts:

Part I: Introduction

In this part, describe your case, including the parties, the facts, and the claims asserted.

Part II: Analysis

This part is your analysis and should make up the majority of your paper. This section should be written in the IRAC format. Look below for a description of the IRAC model. Your analysis should discuss the evidence on both sides of the case and the defenses asserted by the defendant healthcare provider. This section should also identify and analyze the ethical theories involved and how they did or did not impact the decision.

Part III: Variation

In this part, discuss how and why the outcome would have changed if the facts or evidence had been different. For example, if the plaintiff won the case, discuss a defense that, if available to the defendant, would have changed the outcome (for example, if the defendant could prove the plaintiff filed his claim after the statute of limitations had expired).

Seven (7) pagesin length (in addition to the title page and reference list) and use double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Use APA style for citations.

What is IRAC?


Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion

A method for organizing legal analysis so the reader can follow your argument to

its conclusion

How do I use IRAC?

As an example, we will look at whether someone can sue for battery as a result of inhaling second-hand smoke. The issue we will look at is whether there is contact with another person, which is required for a battery claim.


First state the question you are trying to answer (what brought the parties into court). This can be in the form of a question or a statement. For example:

  • "There is an issue as to whether contact occurred when the plaintiff inhaled the second-hand smoke."
  • "Does contact occur when one inhales second-hand smoke created by another?"


State the rule of law or legal principle. This may require stating the elements to establish a claim.

"To prove a case for battery the plaintiff must establish the following elements: an act, intent, contact, causation, and harm."

"The offense of battery requires contact with the plaintiff's person."


This is where you discuss the facts, apply them to the law and explain how you will arrive at your conclusion. You may cite other cases, discuss policy implications, and discuss cases that run counter to your conclusion. If you are analyzing a case that has already been decided by the court, discuss how the court arrived at its decision, balancing arguments from both sides.

You can use other cases, analogizing and distinguishing, and policy (for example, the goals of tort law) to work your way to a conclusion. For example:

"In Howe v. Ahn, the court held that noxious bus fumes inhaled by a passerby constitute harmful and offensive contact. Although the court has not extended this holding to a case involving second-hand smoke, numerous cases have likened second-hand smoke to air pollution (for example, Fox v. Abernathy). Policy considerations also favor finding contact in the present case. If one can prove harm as a result of inhaling second-hand smoke, it is better for the smoker to compensate the victim than burden the state."


State the outcome of your analysis. This can be a prediction of how the court may rule or a statement of the court's decision.

"The court is likely to find that harmful contact occurs when a smoker releases second-hand smoke into the air and that air is inhaled by a bystander."

Reference no: EM131423190

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