Facts Cafazzo (Plaintiff) sued Central Medical Health Services and Physician that did the surgery (Defendants) for product liability for an implanted medical device that failed six years after his surgery in 1986. Cafazzo had surgery for the implantation of a mandibular prosthesis. Cafazzo sued the hospital (Defendant) and the surgeon (Defendant) under strict product liability. Cafazzo’s suit was based on that the product was defectively designed and lacked any warning necessary to ensure safety.
The product manufacturer, Vitek, was not named defendant because by that time they were bankrupt. The court held for Central medical, Cafazzo appealed. Issues Can a hospital and a physician be held strictly liable under the Restatement of Torts Section: 402 for defects in a product incidental to the provision of medical services? Ruling No. To decide that a surgeon and hospital is liable under circumstances for strict product liability is the same as saying that the surgical skills necessary for the implantation of the mandibular prosthesis are connected to the sale of the implant itself.
Plaintiff did not purchase the implant from Defendants. Analysis Under restatement torts section:402 One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer. As Cafazzo sued the hospital and surgeon, this is not the case for the defendants. The defendants are not the manufacturers of the product, and it was not reasonably foreseeable that the product was defective.
In law the idea of purchase and sale cannot be attached separately to the healing materials supplied by a hospital for a price as part of the medical services. Supplying medical services is not equal to that of the retail marketing enterprise. Doctors are not in the business of selling medical devices, they operate on the patients. Cafazzo should have sued on basis of surgery and not on the product charged to him. If he did so there could be a possibility the court would hold on his suit.
In my view I agree with the court in this case solely because the relationship of a hospital and surgeon to a patient is not one of seller and buyer of products used in surgery. Conclusion DECIDED: NOVEMBER 28, 1995 in favor of the defendants. In this case a hospital and a physician cannot be held subject to strict liability under the Restatement of Torts 402A, for defects in a product incidental to the provision of medical services.