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Ruling OKs suits against hospitals under Ariz. law

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Supreme Court says hospitals can be sued under a state law intended to protect vulnerable or incapacitated adults from neglect, abuse and exploitation.

The justices on Monday unanimously rejected hospitals' arguments that the Adult Protective Services Act only applies to long-term care facilities and the hospitals only provide treatment, not care.

The Supreme Court said hospitals may provide care along with treatment and that the adult-protection law doesn't exempt hospitals as it does physicians and certain other categories of care providers.

The Supreme Court's ruling overturns two trial judges' rulings in favor of Phoenix-area hospitals sued by estates in two wrongful-death cases.

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