Determining Whether a Louisiana Claim Sounds in Medical Malpractice or General Tort Negligence

The Louisiana Supreme Court decision of Coleman v. Deno, 01-1517 (La.1/25/02), 813 So.2d 303, 315-16, sets forth the following six factors for determining whether a claim sounds in medical malpractice and must first be presented to a medical review panel:

(1) whether the particular wrong is “treatment related” or caused by a dereliction of professional skill;

(2) whether the wrong requires expert medical evidence to determine whether the appropriate standard of care was breached;

(3) whether the pertinent act or omission involved assessment of the patient’s condition;

(4) whether an incident occurred in the context of a physician-patient relationship, or was within the scope of activities which a hospital is licensed to perform;

(5) whether the injury would have occurred if the patient had not sought treatment; and
(6) whether the tort alleged was intentional.

See Lacoste v. Pendleton Methodist Hospital, L.L.C., 2007-0008 (La.9/5/07), 966 So.2d 519, 525-529, for a detailed analysis of the Coleman factors in relation to a Hurricane Katrina death case caused by failure to implement a proper evacuation claim and to equip the hospital with adequate emergency power, which allegations fell outside the protection of the Medical Malpractice Act.