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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Fritts v. McKinne

When physicians provide negligent medical treatment, should they be allowed to avoid liability by asserting that the plaintiff's injuries were originally caused by the plaintiff's own negligence? The plaintiff got into a car accident while out drinking with a friend. Due to the serious injuries he suffered as a result of the accident, the plaintiff had to undergo reconstructive surgery. The defendant surgeon accidentally cut plaintiff's innominate artery while performing a tracheostomy. Plaintiff suffered major blood loss, failed to gain consciousness, and died three days later. At trial, the defendant successfully argued a defense of comparative negligence, on the theory that the surgery was necessitated by the defendant's drunken negligence, which led to the car accident.