Faris v. Doctors Hospital, Inc

In Faris v. Doctors Hospital, Inc., 18 Ariz. App. 264, 501 P.2d 440 (1972), a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff, in the aftermath of abdominal surgery, experienced neck pain and was discovered to be suffering from a herniated cervical disk. The plaintiff attempted, but was not permitted, to rely upon res ipsa loquitur to establish that her disk injury was the likely consequence of negligence on the part of her surgeons or her anesthesiologist. But the plaintiff offered no expert opinion to establish that her herniated disk would not likely have arisen in the absence of such negligence. The defendants' experts, on the other hand, testified that plaintiff's disk condition was not necessarily related to trauma and, in light of her age-related degenerative disk disease, could have been triggered by "coughing, sneezing, or merely awakening in the morning." Id. at 266, 501 P.2d at 442. Therefore, although Faris denied the plaintiff access to res ipsa loquitur, it does not stand for the proposition that conflicting expert testimony defeats the applicability of that doctrine. It is simply a case in which the plaintiff offered no expert testimony to overcome the opinion of defendants' experts that her condition could be attributed to causes other than their negligence.