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Free Example of Case Study for the Darling Case Essay

The case of Dorrence Kenneth Darlington II against CharlestonCommunityMemorialHospital was heard at the supreme court of Illinois on 29th September of 1965. Dorrence (plaintiff) filed a complaint accusing the CharlestonCommunityMemorialHospital (defendant) of negligence that caused amputation of his leg. Dorrence, an eighteen year old broke his right leg while playing football and was rushed to the emergency room in CharlestonCommunityMemorialHospital. He was attended to by Dr. John R. Alexander (defendant) (Casenotes, 2009). The defendant treated the patient by placing the leg in plaster cast and applying traction. After the cast had dried off, the plaintiff experienced pain in his toes, which became swollen and changed color. The pain progressed, and the toes became insensitive and cold. The defendant slightly modified the cast by notching it around the plaintiff’s toe and split its sides using a saw, cutting his leg. Nurses at the hospital only came to monitor the plaintiff’s leg a few times for changes in temperature, color, checking circulation and movement, although they were supposed to monitor him after every ten to twenty minutes (Casenotes, 2009). These changes were not reported to the medical staff. The plaintiff was transferred to another hospital, where tests revealed that his leg contained dead tissues that resulted from the tight cast that was placed by the defendant. The plaintiff’s leg had to be amputated just below the knee. After settling the issue with Dr. Alexander, the plaintiff then sued the hospital for negligence and was awarded $150,000 in compensation.

This case answered a critical question: is the hospital responsible for the negligence of its staff? The answer is yes. The hospital owes people quality services because those services are paid for. It is the mandate of hospitals to employ qualified personnel who are competent and employ utmost concentration while dealing with patients (Brooks & Eleonora, 2007). This is the first case to apply the doctrine of corporate negligence: where the cost of staff’s incompetence is borne by the cooperate body. The negligence of the nurses at CharlestonCommunityMemorialHospital is illustrated by their failure to monitor the plaintiff’s toe constantly as required by the hospital policy (Clayton, n.d.). The doctor also failed to treat the patient carefully and ended up inflicting more pain and discomfort that eventually cost the plaintiff his leg. The doctor’s incompetence is further demonstrated by his failure to consult with other medical personnel to obtain other opinions on better ways to treat the plaintiff. Even after the plaintiff’s condition had worsened, the doctor still modified his previous procedure without changing his course of treatment.

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A similar case is the Frigo versus SilverCrossHospital and MedicalCenter of 1998. Here, the plaintiff, Jean Frigo, filed a case against the defendant, SilverCrossHospital, on accusations of negligence in credentialing its staff. The hospital authorized Doctor Paul Kirchner to operate on the plaintiff’s foot that ended up being amputated. The hospital granted the doctor category II surgical credentials that he did not qualify for since he had not completed his podiatric surgical residency as required (Shain & Southwick, 2009). During the trial, Dr. Kirchner agreed that he had surgical privileges only at Silver Cross Hospital. Frigo’s left foot developed an infected ulcer that made her visit the Silver Cross Hospital. She was attended to by Dr. Kirchner, who prescribed an antibiotic and a surgery. The ulcer was still unhealed at the time of surgery, the fact that the doctor should have considered as a red flag for rescheduling the operation. Dr. Kusunose, the plaintiff’s expert doctor, testified that the defendant used a single screw in operation, which was not appropriate. The plaintiff was allowed to walk, thus putting heavy burden on the foot. This led to fracturing of her bone in the first week. After the fracture, the screw was not removed even though it served no purpose. Dr. Kirchner claimed he could not find the screw, further illustrating his inexperience and incompetence.

The two cases both present negligence on the part of hospitals and medical staff, i.e., hospitals hired personnel that were incompetent. In the case of Darling against the Charleston Community Memorial Hospital, the hospital failed to adequately supervise the patients’ recovery processes and ignores the deteriorating conditions of patients. The doctor was not careful while dealing with the patient and overly tightened the cast without thinking of the consequences of this act to the patient. The second case portrayed sheer negligence of the hospital when it allowed a doctor without necessary credentials to operate on a patient. The hospital mandated the doctor to perform surgery even though the doctor lacked the experience, as he has not completed his surgical residency.

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