Court Allows Emotional Distress Lawsuit despite Lack of Medical Negligence

February 10, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


A physician can be sued for allegedly causing a patient’s emotional distress even if no physical contact caused the distress, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled, expanding potential liability for physicians in that state, states a January 30, 2012, American Medical News article. The lawsuit involves a mother’s claim that she experienced emotional distress because her physician failed to prepare her for the shock of her infant’s deformities at birth. The patient was informed that the results of a pelvic ultrasound did not reveal any abnormalities. Several months later, she delivered an infant with significant deformities, including partial arms and legs. The patient sued the physician and the hospital for negligent infliction of emotional distress, but did not allege medical negligence.

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