Can patient stupidity ever be a defense for medical malpractice?

Asked about 2 years ago - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Will the defense ever say to the patient "well you were stupid to trust this doctor and stupid not to get a second opinion" don't you know about he "art of diagnosis" even though every GOOD doctor I speak to says that good medicine should try to be as little of an art as possible.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. 8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Medical malpractice is based on whether the doctor performed up to the standard of care, i.e., how would a reasonably prudent doctor have have performed under the circumstances.

    My answer to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.
  2. 8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I've never heard of "patient stupidity" as a defense. I've had cases in which the defense said my client failed to follow doctor's orders/recommendations, or even cases where they said the patient contributed to his own injuries by doing X or not doing Y.

  3. 6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In the states where I practice, there is something called contributory negligence or comparative fault. The plaintiff's own mistakes can mitigate the errors of the defendant(s). I suppose this can be called a patient's "stupidity." An example might be a plaintiff that chooses not to return promptly to an ER when their condition dramatically worsens, etc.

  4. 4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Just based upon a quick review of your question, it seems like there have to be occasions when it could, or, at least, should be.

    We are pleased to offer a free thirty (30) minute initial telephone consultation (simply dial {305} 972-5720), or,... more
  5. 4

    Lawyers agree


    Answered . In defending the doctor anything is possible. They want to divert attention away from the doctor's actions and towards what you may have done wrong.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  6. 1

    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . I'll say this, I have never been in trail where the defense dared to call my client stupid.
    A liar, in so many words, in some cases. But to call a party stupid is to invite a punishing verdict against you. Ergo, the McDonalds coffee spill case.

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