Summary Judgment for Attending Doctor
The Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed the decision of Supreme Court Justice Karen V. Murphy, dismissing all claims against the defendant, as well as other defendants in the case. The doctor became the attending physician for the decedent when she was brought to the hospital after an apparent drug overdose. Over the course of an admission of several days, the doctor cleared her for medical discharge, and secured a psychiatric consult. The psychiatrist advised that the decedent was ready to be discharged from a psychiatric standpoint.
Two days after discharge, the decedent was found dead in her bathtub. The cause of death was not determined by the Medical Examiner. Plaintiff claimed that she committed suicide, and that the suicide would not have occurred if she had not been discharged prematurely.
We moved for summary judgment on the doctor’s behalf, offering proof that he adhered to accepted medical practice, and questioning the plaintiff’s contention that her death was suicide. The Court granted our motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Division affirmed the order dismissing the case, holding that the plaintiff failed to rebut the defendant’s prima facie proof of entitlement to summary judgment. James M. Furey, Jr. prepared the motion and briefed the appeal. Susan W. Darlington argued the appeal.