PA Supreme Court Now Permits Emotional Distress Claims In Medical Malpractice Claims

February 15, 2012

If you are a parent or family member having emotional difficulty coping with the results of your child or loved one’s condition that was the result of medical malpractice, then you no longer need to suffer in silence.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently expanded the type of lawsuits available to those who suffer emotional distress as a result of medical malpractice against their family members.

In Toney v. Chester County Hospital, the mother of the child-victim brought an action for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (“NIED”) against the hospital defendants. The plaintiff-mother underwent a pelvic ultrasound during the late stages of the pregnancy. According to medical experts, the results of that ultrasound revealed several abnormalities that the defendants failed to advise the plaintiff-mother about. Instead, the defendants informed the plaintiff-mother that the ultrasound results were normal.

Two months later, the child-victim was born with no arms below elbows, no legs below the knees, and severe deformities to his facial and private regions.

After the plaintiff-mother’s NIED case was dismissed by the trial court, it eventually made its way to the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth. Upon review, the Supreme Court stated: “we conclude that justification exists to extend NIED liability to a subset of cases involving preexisting relationships.”

Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has given a voice and forum for those suffering emotional harm due to the condition of their loved ones.

Make sure your emotional needs are taken care of. If your loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, and you are suffering emotional distress as a result of that harm, you may be entitled to recover. Please contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys today to schedule a free case review.

Wapner Newman handles medical malpractice lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Allentown, Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, and Marlton.