Visitor Hurt Trying to Keep Patient from Falling from Lift; "Danger Invites Rescue" Claim Can Proceed

April 29, 2020 | Strategic Insights for Health System


A visitor sued a hospital after she injured her back trying to keep a patient from falling from a Hoyer lift, and the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, affirmed dismissal of the medical malpractice claim but reversed dismissal of the negligence claim based on the "danger invites rescue" doctrine. Thus, the complaint was reinstated, and the case was allowed to proceed on a "danger invites rescue" theory of liability.

The visitor had accompanied the patient to the defendant hospital. A staff member tried to use a Hoyer lift to transfer the patient from a wheelchair to a bed without summoning a second staff member to help as required. The visitor told the staff member that two people needed to move the patient using the lift, but the staff member allegedly insisted on using it without a second person. While the patient was in the lift, the lift began to tip over, and the patient started to fall off the lift. The visitor supported the patient as...

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