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Ybarra v. Spangard

From lawbrain.com

Ybarra v. Spangard, 25 Cal.2d 486, 154 P.2d 687 (1944) is a negligent medical tort case from California holding that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies when a plaintiff undergoing a medical procedure sustains an injury to a party of the body not under treatment.

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Summary of Case Facts

While in the hospital to have an appendectomy, Ybarra awoke post surgery with pain in his neck and shoulder area, eventually developing paralysis. As a result, he brought a lawsuit against various Doctors, nurses and hospital staff for his damages. With no direct link to who caused his injury, Ybarra sued under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.


If a patient in the hospital for a specific procedure awakens after the anesthesia to find that he has suffered injuries not related to the procedure, are the persons involved in the patients care liable to the patient under the tort of negligence based on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur?

Holding and Law

Yes. The proof of negligence needed when a plaintiff does not have direct evidence as to who brought about the harm that caused the damages to the Plaintiff can be inferred from the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur when the plaintiff was under the care of another party who had sole control of the intrumentalities and treatment of the plaintiff.

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