N.Y. Court: Doc May Owe 3rd Party for Not Warning Patient About Driving on Meds

December 21, 2015

New York’s highest court has reinstated a medical malpractice suit against a Long Island hospital and the doctor and physician’s assistant who gave painkillers to a woman who subsequently crashed her car.

The suit was filed by the driver of a bus who was injured in the crash. It claims the medical providers at South Nassau Communities Hospital failed to warn Lorraine Walsh that the opioid narcotic and anti-anxiety drug she got intravenously two hours earlier could impair her ability to drive safely.

Walsh crossed a double-yellow line and hit the bus.

The Court of Appeals, divided 4-2, says medical providers have a duty to warn patients of the possible danger from drugged driving that extends to third parties.

The two dissenters say that duty only applies to the patient.

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