Sample Essay on Darling v. Charleston Community Memorial Hospital

Darling v. Charleston Community Memorial Hospital


Darling together with the patient, his son (Plaintiff) asserted that the Defendant (Charleston Community Memorial Hospital) was responsible for the assumed laxity by its employees. The defendant appealed the rule of the Court of Appeal for the Fourth District (Illinois) which affirmed that the jury’s reward damages caused against the defendant in the negligence of the employees of the health institution.

Assumption of the rule of law

The hospital may be accountable for the carelessness of its employees.


Dorrence Darling II accidentally broke his leg in the college playfield at the age of 18. He was carried to the emergency section at the Charleston Community Memorial Hospital to be attended by Dr. Alexander, the attending physician, who first organized for break and casting of the leg. On the following day, the toes of the plaintiff became dark, insensitive, and cold. The cast was eliminated in as much as part of the lag had become necrotic due to constriction by the cast. The lower leg was later amputated. The nurses failed to show the hospital the required procedures necessary in the observation of the temperature, color, and movement of the leg. This observation was meant to take place after twenty minutes. The leg after scrutiny in another hospital was realized to have many dead tissues. It thus had to be amputated.

The plaintiff sued Alexander and Charleston (defendants). After settling with Alexander, the plaintiff opened as case against Charleston. The jury returned the initial verdict of $150,000 in favor of the Darling. Since the hospital was licensed and accredited, it had its own duty to the patient (Pandit & Pandit, 2009). The Court of Appeal affirmed this action while the Supreme Court of Illinois offered the review disregarding the liability of the hospital for negligence of the employees. The plaintiff argued that it was the role of the hospital to ensure that all policies and procedures were critically followed.


Hospital as a health institution is responsible for carelessness of the members. Other than offering facilities, the hospital has jurisdiction over the staff doctors and nurses. Modern hospitals offer more services other than the basic health care to the patient. Doctors likewise have been previously perceived as independent contractors (Daniel, Michael, Ridgely, Kellermann, & Heaton, 2014). According to the present terms, the body employing a contractor is not held responsible over the actions of the contractor as opposed to situations of having an employee. This is reason behind separate charges faced by the hospital and the doctor.

Medical profession is a highly appreciated profession as it assists in preserving life. a patient therefore seeks the services of a hospital and of a particular doctor based on the reputation. In as much as the doctor may be able to save life but is negligent and reckless, few patients are can their services. On the other hand, doctors are expected to uphold the life and well-being of their patients’ first, failure to which the doctor and the health institution may be charged on a tortuous liability (Pandit & Pandit, 2009). When a patient approaches a doctor for medical assistance, the assumed skill and knowledge of the doctor makes the patient entrust such a doctor. The association between the two is thus guided by the significant elements of a tort. A breach of the duties the doctor owes the patient may cause the patient sue the doctor for negligence. The patient therefore is expected to give consent to the doctor for diagnostic and therapeutic management (Jena, Seabury, Lakdawalla, & Chandra, 2011). The services the doctor offers the patient are within the provisions of the 1986 Consumer Protection Act. Other than the informed consent, the contract between the patient and the doctor comprise of payment of the fees and performance of the treatment in relation to the elements of the tort.

The case of Darlington v. Charleston has major impacts on the health care institutions. The court articulated the doctrine of corporate negligence, which is part of the roles of health institutions. Other than facing the punishment, the nurses and the present doctor are to face punitive actions by the institution. This includes relieving of the duties to Health organizations. This is because they have shown poor services and thus their certificate of practice has been publicly questioned. Additionally, it is demanded to have effective trained medical and nursing employees in addition to the establishment of policies and procedures in the evaluation of the quality of medicine practiced in the institutions. The fact that the nurse on duty and the doctor failed to finish the procedure they started is also questionable. Other than showing laziness the public is made to question the number of patients the nurse is to observe while in duty. The question may be employee injustice within the hospital, which the public needs to note and correct. Thus, the hospital has to be ready to allow more visitors visit and analyze the situation around the hospital.

It was possible for the court to have observed negligence in the hospital as the nurses failed to test the circulation of the leg as constantly as required. The doctor likewise failed to show concern by observing the patient after attending to him the day before. From analysis, it was easier for skilled nurses to have noted of the procedure and promptly performed the procedures, as it is common knowledge that the condition is irreversible. Otherwise, the availability of a skilled nurse would have notified the doctor or the hospital authorities of the health complication. No dispute emerged as to whether the defendant failed to analyze the work of the doctor or demand for a consultation. It was common that the dispute of the defender to fail as acts of negligence were experienced. The health workers and plaintiff’s amendment in addition did not surprise the jury. This is because the same theory was under practice even during the pretrial. Based on these theories and analysis, I conquer with the court that the hospital together with the staff were negligent and thus the plaintiff must be compensated for the loss he has gone through.


The Court of Appeal, which proved that the Jury observed some aspects of negligence were practiced by the hospital’s management. Their award for the damages were affirmed as the hospital was found to be negligent according to the jury’s observation. The hospital is also fined for ignoring the actual condition of continuously testing the legs to ensure that there is movement of the tissue wastes.


Daniel A. W., Michael D. G., Ridgely, M., S., Kellermann, A. L. & Heaton, P. “The Effect of

Malpractice Reform on Emergency Department Care.” New England Journal of

Medicine, 2014. Vol. 371, pp. 1518-1525


Pandit, M. S. & Pandit, S. ”Medical Negligence: Coverage of the profession, duties, ethics, case

law and enlightened defense- A Legal Perspective.” Indian Journal of Urology. 2009. 25(3):372-378

doi:  10.4103/0970-1591.56206


Jena, A. B., Seabury, S., Lakdawalla, D., & Chandra, A. “Malpractice risk according to physician specialty.” N. Engl. J. Med. 2011. 365 (7): 629–36.