Saunders v. DickensAnnotate this Case
Walter Saunders and his wife, Ruby Saunders, sued Dr. Willis Dickens, a neurologist, filed a failure to diagnose action against Dickens after Saunders developed quadriplegia from his condition. Saunders died during the pendency of the appeal. The jury returned a general verdict in favor of Dickens. The Fourth District affirmed, holding that counsel for Dickens did not improperly shift the burden of proof when he asserted that Saunders had not established causation in light of a subsequent treating physician’s testimony that he would not have changed the course of treatment even if Dickens had not acted negligently. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below, holding that testimony that a subsequent treating physician would not have treated the patient differently had the defendant physician acted within the applicable standard of care is inadmissible and will not insulate a defendant physician from liability for his own negligence.