- Aug 2020
One final questionable aspect of the jury's verdict relates to the legal requirement that before a judgment of malpractice can be reached, any departures from the standard of care must be shown to have been the proximate cause of the resulting harms. The most common test for whether an act or omission constitutes a proximate cause is whether it was reasonably foreseeable at the time that the negligent act occurred that would result in the consequent harms. Williamson had no history of violent behavior and had never revealed a violent impulse during treatment. It is impossible to conclude that he was foreseeably dangerous at the time he was seen by Dr. Liptzin.
The test for proximate cause "is whether it was reasonably foreseeable at the time that the negligent act occurred that would result in the consequent harms"
In this case, Dr. Liptzin, having seen Williamson having no history of violence or anything else, could not reasonably foresee that Williamson was going to do something illegal.