Medical Malpractice – Proximate Cause of Death

Mobile Infirmary Association, etc., et al., v. Fagerstrom, etc., [Ms. SC-2023-0355, Nov. 17, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2023). The Court (Sellers, J.; Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Stewart, Mitchell, and Cook, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., and Mendheim, J., concur in the result) reverses the Baldwin Circuit Court’s judgment on a jury verdict in a medical malpractice wrongful death action and renders judgment for the defendants. The Court concludes that the plaintiff failed “to offer sufficient evidence demonstrating that the proximate cause of Sylvia (Fagerstrom)’s death was sepsis resulting from an infected pressure ulcer allegedly caused by the defendants’ breaches of the standard of care.” Ms. *2.

On the element of proximate cause, “the plaintiff was required to demonstrate with expert medical testimony that Sylvia probably died from sepsis caused by her infected ulcer.” Ms. *4. The Court concludes that the opinion of plaintiff’s expert physician on causation based on the normal progression of sepsis causing death “was not supported by a proper evidentiary foundation, was conclusory and speculative, and did not justify submitting the issue of causation to the jury.” Ms. *10.

Related Documents