Man Who Attempted Suicide Sues Hospital That Saved Him

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If someone injures you while saving your life, can you sue them?

Well, of course you can sue them, since you’re not dead, but can you win?

I guess so.  Earlier this month, Michael Dexter was paid 90,000 pounds as part of a settlement that ended a six-year legal battle with a hospital in East Lancashire, United Kingdom.  Dexter claimed that the hospital had given him an intravenous overdose of neutralizing drugs, causing severe damage to his arm.

Turns out that was his second overdose of the day — he had attempted suicide that morning by washing down about 100 pills with some rum & Coke.  So the hospital’s drugs did have the benefit of neutralizing his, and thereby saving his life.

Result: lawsuit.  Dexter alleged he had been given four times the dose that should have been used, and that as a result he has lost about 75 percent of the use of his right arm.  Had he died, of course, he would have lost exactly 100 percent of the use of both arms (among other things), but still.  “I know they saved my life,” Dexter said, “but if you went in with a heart attack you wouldn’t expect to leave with a limb you can’t use.”

Maybe not.  And in a lot of jurisdictions, a negligent party is still liable even if he or she was being a “good Samaritan,” so maybe you’ve got a point there.  Seems like it should make a difference, though, that you wouldn’t have had the heart attack on purpose.