Loss of a Chance of Survival in Louisiana Medical Malpractice Actions

La. R.S. 9:2794(A)(3) requires the Louisiana medical malpractice plaintiff to prove that as a “proximate result” of the defendant’s failure to use the required degree of care, “the plaintiff suffered injuries that would not otherwise have been incurred.” In a situation where the patient dies, the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that the plaintiff does not have to shoulder the “unreasonable burden” of proving that the patient would have lived had proper treatment been given. Hastings v. Baton Rouge General Hospital, 498 So.2d 713, 721 (La.1986). Instead, the plaintiff must prove “only that there would have been a chance of survival,” and that the patient was denied this chance of survival because of the defendant’s negligence. Id. at 720. See also Smith v. State through Dept. of Health and Human Resources Admin., 523 So.2d 815, 822 (La.1988).

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