[152 - 153] 3. Aggravation of injury by medical treatment: If D negligently injures P, who then undergoes medical treatment , D will be liable for anything that happens to P as the result of negligence in the medical treatment, infection, etc. ( Examples: P is further injured when the ambulance 31 Tort Outline
carrying her gets into a collision, or when, due to the surgeon’s negligence, P’s condition is worsened rather than improved.)  a. Gross mistreatment: But some results of attempted medical treatment are so gross and unusual that they are regarded as superseding.  ( Example: While P is hospitalized due to injuries negligently inflicted by D, a nurse kills P by giving him an injection of morphine which she knows may be fatal, because she wants to spare him from suffering. D is not liable for P’s death because the nurse’s conduct is so bizarre as to be superseding.) E. Unforeseeable intervention, foreseeable result: If an intervention is neither foreseeable nor normal, but leads to the same type of harm as that which was threatened by D’s negligence, the intervention is usually not superseding. [154 - 155] Example: D negligently maintains a telephone pole, letting it get infested by termites. X drives into the pole. The pole breaks and falls on P. A properly- maintained telephone pole would not have broken under the blow. Even though the chain of events (termite infestation followed by car crash) was bizarre, X’s intervention will not be superseding, because the result that occurred was the same general type of harm as that which was threatened by D’s negligence – that the pole would somehow fall down. [ Gibson v. Garcia ] F. Unforeseeable intervention, unforeseeable results: If the intervention was not foreseeable or normal, and it produced results which are not of the same general nature as those that made D’s conduct negligent, the intervention will probably be superseding . [155 - 156] 1. Extraordinary act of nature: Thus an extraordinary act of nature is likely to be superseding. ( Example: Assume that it is negligent to one’s neighbors to build a large wood pile in one’s back yard, because this may attract termites which will then spread. D builds a large wood pile. An unprecedentedly-strong hurricane sweeps through, takes one of the logs, and blows it into P’s bedroom, killing him. The hurricane will probably be held to be a superseding intervening cause, because it was so strong as to be virtually unforeseeable, and the type of harm it produced was not of the type that made D’s conduct negligent in the first place.)  G. Dependent vs. independent intervention: Courts sometimes distinguish between "dependent" intervening causes and "independent" ones. A dependent intervening cause is one which occurs only in response to D’s negligence. An independent intervention is one which would have occurred even had D not been negligent (but which combined with D’s negligence to produce the harm).
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