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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE - INTERVENING CAUSE - FRAZIER V. GILLIS

In Frazier v. Gillis, [Ms. 2100202 Aug. 5, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. Civ. App. 2011), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed the entry of a judgment as a matter of law in favor of a defendant doctor on the grounds that "a particular defendant's negligence need not be the sole cause of injury in order for an action to lie against the defendant; it is sufficient that the negligence concurred with the other causes to produce injury." Looney v. Davis, 721 So. 2d 152, 158 (Ala. 1998). The defendant doctor argued that the intervening negligence of other physicians was so egregious that it was unforeseeable. The Court held that there is "no Alabama authority for the proposition that there are different degrees of negligent medical care so as to make some negligent care foreseeable and other negligent care unforeseeable." The Court therefore concluded that "if a jury finds that Dr. Gillis was negligent in his treatment of [the deceased], causing her INR to become dangerously elevated, then it can also find that his negligence began the chain of events that ultimately resulted in Bryant's death. As a matter of law, the alleged superseding intervening negligence of Dr. Evans and Davis does not absolve Dr. Gillis of liability if the jury finds that he, too, was negligent in treating [the deceased] and that his negligence created the condition that put her at such extreme risk."

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