Pate v. Threlkel

661 So. 2d 278 (Fla. 1995).

The daughter of a patient who had been treated for a genetically transferable disease and who had herself been diagnosed with the disease filed a lawsuit against the doctors who had treated the mother for failure to advise the mother of the genetic nature of the disease. The daughter alleged that such advice would have prompted the mother to have her children tested, which in turn would have enabled the daughter to have taken preventative action, and that the daughter’s condition would have been curable at that time.

On the issue of duty, the court held that the doctors owed a duty of care to the daughter.  The court reasoned:  Here, the alleged prevailing standard of care was obviously developed for the benefit of the patient’s children as well as the patient. We conclude that when the prevailing standard of care creates a duty that is obviously for the benefit of certain identified third parties and the physician knows of the existence of those third parties, then the physician’s duty runs to those third parties.”

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