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The trial court erred in a negligence action against a psychiatrist by not instructing the jury on the issue of plaintiff Michael Cobo's contributory negligence where the action claimed misdiagnosis and negligent treatment and there was evidence that Michael Cobo's conduct during the time he was being treated by the defendant joined simultaneously with the negligent treatment of the defendant to cause Cobo's injuries. Contributory negligence must be submitted to the jury when the trial court submits only one issue with respect to multiple claims of negligence and defendant's contentions concerning contributory negligence would be inappropriate as to one claim but may not be inappropriate as to another.
Further, there was evidence that Cobo had refused to pursue a suggested course of treatment involving medicine and requested that defendant take no notes during the sessions. The continuing course of treatment doctrine was applicable to a malpractice claim against a psychiatrist where plaintiff began his treatment in , the sessions after primarily dealt with plaintiff's newly diagnosed HIV status, the doctor-patient relationship terminated in , and defendant contended that the three-year statute of limitations of N.
Defendant continued to treat plaintiff after for conditions that plaintiff alleged were caused by defendant's negligence before and the treatment did not change in that plaintiff continued to meet with defendant four times a week to discuss his problems and to learn how to control and manage those problems.
Hight, Jr. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 November Ragsdale and Kristin K. Eldridge, for defendant-appellant. Defendant is a psychiatrist practicing in the Durham, North Carolina area. Cobo began to see defendant as a patient when Cobo moved to Durham to accept a job at Duke Medical School. Cobo had previously been diagnosed and treated for depression during medical school and during his residency in Miami.
During treatment for depression in Miami, Cobo had been treated with an antidepressant drug which produced adverse side effects. In late Cobo began a course of treatment with defendant who diagnosed Cobo as suffering from chronic depression. The treatment consisted of psychoanalysis four times a week which continued until December , when Cobo tested positive for HIV. Cobo told defendant that he did not wish to be treated with medication because his previous treatment with medication had "affected him badly" and had been unhelpful.