Badrigian v. Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute, Inc

Badrigian v. Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute, Inc., 6 Conn. App. 383, 386, 505 A.2d 741 (1986), involved a negligence claim relative to a plaintiff's decedent. The decedent had been hospitalized at the defendant's facility, a psychiatric institute, which offered inpatient and outpatient care, and treatment. The decedent had entered the inpatient facility where he remained until his discharge four weeks later. Upon his discharge from the inpatient facility, the outpatient facility accepted the decedent as a patient. The outpatients, as part of their therapy and treatment, were encouraged to eat lunch at the inpatient facility. The inpatient and outpatient facilities were situated on either side of a state highway. The day following his discharge, the decedent visited the outpatient facility for treatment and, when he crossed the highway to go to lunch, a car struck and killed him. Id., 385. The court in Badrigian noted that "the defendant is attempting to transform this case from one of simple negligence into that of medical malpractice requiring expert medical testimony to prove a medical standard of care and a breach thereof." Id., 386. Under the facts of Badrigian, "the trial court correctly decided that this was not a medical malpractice action, but an action sounding in ordinary negligence . . . ." Id. The Badrigian decision revolved around the propriety of submitting to a jury a claim against a hospital without expert testimony and the failure to charge the jury on elements of a medical malpractice claim. The Badrigian court, however, stated that "one need not be guided by medical experts in determining whether a mentally ill person should be allowed to cross on foot a heavily traveled four lane state highway without supervision"; id., 387; thus alluding to the proper identification of the claim as one of ordinary negligence, not medical malpractice.