Haynes v. Yale-New Haven Hospital

In Haynes v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, 243 Conn. 17, 699 A.2d 964 (1997), the plaintiff's decedent, a rural letter carrier for the United States postal service, was seriously injured when her vehicle was struck head-on by another vehicle. Haynes v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, supra, 243 Conn. at 20. The decedent was transported via ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital (Yale-New Haven), where she was admitted to the emergency department. Id. at 37. The decedent received emergency care from Yale-New Haven for a fractured left leg and pelvis. Id. After receiving care for approximately one and one-half hours, the decedent's abdomen began to expand. Id. Emergency exploratory surgery was performed on the decedent and it was discovered that her spleen had been lacerated, which resulted in blood filling her abdomen. Id. The decedent's circulation failed on the operating table, she went into cardiac arrest and subsequently died. Id. The plaintiff thereafter brought an action against Yale-New Haven, alleging medical malpractice and a violation of CUTPA. Id. at 21. On the CUTPA claim, the plaintiff alleged that Yale-New Haven had engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices because, although Yale-New Haven was certified as a major trauma center, it had not met the standards of care required of such a center. Id. In essence, that claim was identical to the substance of the plaintiff's medical malpractice claim. The court in Haynes concluded that although physicians and other health care providers are subject to CUTPA, medical malpractice does not fall under the act. Id. at 35. The court held that "only the entrepreneurial or commercial aspects of the profession are covered . . . by CUTPA." Id. at 34. The Court stated: "Only allegations of unfair, unconscionable, or deceptive methods, acts, or practices in the conduct of the entrepreneurial, commercial, or business aspect of a physician's practice may be brought under the consumer protection act. Allegations that concern misconduct in the actual performance of medical services or the actual practice of medicine would be improper." Id. at 37.