HA4050D – Healthcare Law
Discussion 02.2: Intentional Torts
Read the Discussion 02.2 Scenario. Refer to this scenario as you answer the questions below.
1.What INTENTIONAL tort theories (NOT NEGLIGENCE) might apply here? What facts fit the elements of those tort theories?
2.Consider the extent of the hospital’s monetary liability. If you were on the jury in this case, how would you calculate an amount of damages? Did taking the photographs cause any economic damages (cost the plaintiffs money)? Probably not. Did they cause pain and suffering? How do you think a jury might arrive at a dollar figure to award in a case like this?
DISCUSSION 02.2: INTENTIONAL TORTS
SCENARIO (BASED ON A REAL MAINE CASE)
You are an administrator in a medium-sized hospital. One of the physicians, Dr. McKee, comes to you
to tell you about something disturbing she has just witnessed.
A hospitalized patient suffering from cancer of the larynx was under the care of another physician, Dr.
Smallwood. The patient’s condition was somewhat unusual and of interest to several of the oncologists
who had examined it. The patient had initially permitted Dr. Smallwood to take several photographs that were to be used for the medical record, but he was adamant that they not to be used for
Later, a few hours before the patient died, Dr. Smallwood and a nurse took more photographs, moving
the patient’s head for the photos, despite the patient’s clear wishes that he did not want any more
photos to be taken. Dr. Smallwood then uploaded the photos to a discussion group to share them with
Soon after the patient died, his wife discovered that additional photos were taken and was outraged.
Dr. McKee just witnessed the patient’s widow have a heated conversation with Dr. Smallwood and then
storm out, threatening to sue the hospital.
You immediately begin drafting an email to inform your supervisor about the situation. You want to
include the following in your memo: