In 2006, a Virginia high court held that a brutal assault on a disabled patient is governed by tort law and not by the state’s Medical Malpractice Act. In this assignment, you will analyze this case and identify the scope of medical malpractice and tort law.

The Case

Alcoy was 79 years old when she suffered a stroke that left her physically helpless and mentally damaged. She was moved to a nursing home. Four days later, she was brutally assaulted sexually; the assailant was never identified. Alcoy died several months later. Her estate administrator sued the nursing home for negligence and assault. The nursing home responded that the case was governed by the state’s Medical Malpractice Act, and that Act controlled the extent of the nursing home’s liability. The district court held in favor of the nursing home; the administrator appealed. Virginia high court held that the case is governed by tort law and not by the state’s Medical Malpractice Act (Alcoy v. Valley Nursing Homes, 2006).


Alcoy v. Valley Nursing Homes, Inc., 272 S. E.2d 301 (Sup. Ct., Va. 2006).

Analyze the scenario and respond to the following questions:

  • Why did the state change the case from medical malpractice to tort law?
  • Do you agree with the state’s decision? Why or why not?

Submission Details

  • Compile your analysis in a 3-to-5-page Word document.
  • Submit it to the Submissions Area by the due date assigned.
  • Name your document SUO_PHE3040_W1_A3_LastName_FirstInitial.doc.
  • On a separate page, cite all sources using the APA guidelines.
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