California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

514. Duty of Hospital

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514.Duty of Hospital
A hospital is negligent if it does not use reasonable care toward its
patients. A hospital must provide procedures, policies, facilities, supplies,
and qualified personnel reasonably necessary for the treatment of its
patients.
[When you are deciding whether [name of defendant] was negligent, you
must base your decision only on the testimony of the expert witnesses
who have testified in this case.]
New September 2003
Directions for Use
This instruction may be augmented by CACI No. 515, Duty of Hospital to Provide
Safe Environment, and/or CACI No. 516, Duty of Hospital to Screen Medical Staff.
The second paragraph should be used unless the court determines that expert
testimony is not necessary to establish the standard of care.
See CACI Nos. 219–221 on evaluating the credibility of expert witnesses.
This instruction is not intended if the hospital is being sued based on the
negligence of an agent or employee. See instructions in the Vicarious
Responsibility series and adapt accordingly.
Sources and Authority
• “[T]he duty imposed by law on the hospital is that it must exercise such
reasonable care toward a patient as his mental and physical condition, if known,
require . . . .” (Vistica v. Presbyterian Hospital & Medical Center, Inc. (1967)
67 Cal.2d 465, 469 [62 Cal.Rptr. 577, 432 P.2d 193].)
• “A private hospital owes its patients the duty of protection. It was the duty of
the hospital to use reasonable care and diligence in safeguarding a patient
committed to its charge [citations] and such care and diligence are measured by
the capacity of the patient to care for himself. By reason of the tender age of
appellant’s baby respondent owed a higher degree of care in attending it than if
she had been an adult.” (Thomas v. Seaside Memorial Hospital (1947) 80
Cal.App.2d 841, 847 [183 P.2d 288].)
• “It is the duty of any hospital that undertakes the treatment of an ill or wounded
person to use reasonable care and diligence not only in operating upon and
treating but also in safeguarding him, and such care and diligence is measured
by the capacity of the patient to care for himself.” (Valentin v. La Societe
Francaise de Bienfaisance Mutuelle (1946) 76 Cal.App.2d 1, 4 [172 P.2d 359].)
• “[T]he professional duty of a hospital . . . is primarily to provide a safe
environment within which diagnosis, treatment, and recovery can be carried out.
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Thus if an unsafe condition of the hospital’s premises causes injury to a patient
. . . there is a breach of the hospital’s duty qua hospital.” (Murillo v. Good
Samaritan Hospital (1979) 99 Cal.App.3d 50, 56–57 [160 Cal.Rptr. 33].)
• “Defendant . . . was under a duty to observe and know the condition of a
patient. Its business is caring for ill persons, and its conduct must be in
accordance with that of a person of ordinary prudence under the circumstances,
a vital part of those circumstances being the illness of the patient and incidents
thereof.” (Rice v. California Lutheran Hospital (1945) 27 Cal.2d 296, 302 [163
P.2d 860].)
• “If a hospital is obliged to maintain its premises and its instrumentalities for the
comfort of its patients with such care and diligence as will reasonably assure
their safety, it should be equally bound to observe the progress of a patient in
his recovery from a major operation with such care and diligence as his
condition reasonably requires for his comfort and safety and promptly to
employ such agencies as may reasonably appear necessary for the patient’s
safety.” (Valentin, supra, 76 Cal.App.2d at p. 5.)
• “No expert opinion is required to prove the hospital’s failure to provide an
adequate number of trained, qualified personnel at the most critical time in
postoperative care was negligent.” (Czubinsky v. Doctors Hospital (1983) 139
Cal.App.3d 361, 367 [188 Cal.Rptr. 685].)
• “A California civil jury instruction succinctly characterizes a hospital’s duty to
its patients as follows: ‘A hospital must provide procedures, policies, facilities,
supplies, and qualified personnel reasonably necessary for the treatment of its
patients.’ (CACI No. 514.) The instruction would appear to be an accurate
distillation of the case law applicable when patients are being treated at a
hospital facility for an illness, injury or medical condition.” (Walker v. Sonora
Regional Medical Center (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 948, 960 [135 Cal.Rptr.3d
876].)
• “ ‘Present-day hospitals, as their manner of operation plainly demonstrates, do
far more than furnish facilities for treatment. They regularly employ on a salary
basis a large staff of physicians, nurses and internes [sic], as well as
administrative and manual workers, and they charge patients for medical care
and treatment, collecting for such services, if necessary, by legal action.
Certainly, the person who avails himself of ‘hospital facilities’ expects that the
hospital will attempt to cure him, not that its nurses or other employees will act
on their own responsibility.’ Although hospitals do not practice medicine in the
same sense as physicians, they do provide facilities and services in connection
with the practice of medicine, and if they are negligent in doing so they can be
held liable. Here, defendant hospital implicitly recognized that point when it
requested, and the trial court gave, this jury instruction: ‘A hospital must
provide procedures, policies, facilities, supplies, and qualified personnel
reasonably necessary for the treatment of its patients.’ ” (Leung v. Verdugo Hills
Hospital (2012) 55 Cal.4th 291, 310 [145 Cal.Rptr.3d 553, 282 P.3d 1250].)
MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CACI No. 514
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Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 986–989
Haning et al., California Practice Guide: Personal Injury, Ch. 2(II)-I, Negligence
Liability Based On Omission To Act—Legal Duty Arising From “Special
Relationship”, ¶¶ 2:1911, 2:1982 (The Rutter Group)
Haning et al., California Practice Guide: Personal Injury, Ch. 3-F, MICRA
Provisions Affecting Damages, ¶¶ 3:282.11c, 3:282.11d (The Rutter Group)
California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) §§ 9.55–9.64
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 31, Liability of Physicians and Other Medical
Practitioners, § 31.81 (Matthew Bender)
25 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 295, Hospitals, § 295.13
(Matthew Bender)
CACI No. 514 MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
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