Vergara v. Doan Case Brief

Summary of Vergara v. Doan (1992) Pg. 419, 593 N.E.2D 185 (Ind. 1992)

Parties: Appellant – Plaintiff – Vergara

Appellee – Defendant – Doan

Court: Indiana Supreme Court, 1992

Facts: During the delivery of Javier Vergara, the baby suffered severe and permanent injuries. Parents sued the Dr. Doan for negligence/medical malpractice.

Procedural Posture: TC – jury found for the defendant, Dr. Doan.

MC – affirmed TC’s decision in favor of Dr. Doan. Plaintiffs appealed asking to abandon Indiana’s modified locality rule.

Issue: Should a doctor be required to act as well as other doctors in his/her locality or should a doctor’s conduct be measured against a national standard of care?

Judgment: Adopted new rule, but affirmed decision because even without instructing the jury on the modified locality rule, a new jury would decide the same.

Holding: Held that the modified locality rule, which replaced the strict locality rule, still permitted a lower standard of care to be exercised in smaller communities because other communities were likely to have the same standard of care. Modern communication and transportation make the rule invalid. Adopted a new rule: (SEE BELOW)

Relevant Rule: National Standard Rule – A physician must exercise that degree of care, skill, and proficiency exercised by reasonably careful, skillful, and prudent practitioners in the same class to which he belongs, acting under the same or similar circumstances.

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