Mohr v. Williams
Supreme Court of MN - 1905
- P went to doctor D about a problem with her right ear. P consented to surgery on her right ear.
- During surgery, D determined that the right ear did not need to be operated on. D checked her left ear and determined that there was a non-threatening condition that needed an operation.
- D successfully performed surgery on the left ear.
- P sued D for battery.
- Trial court found for P, but judge threw out since damages were excessive.
- Supreme Court of MN remanded for a new trial on damages.
- If a doctor has obtained a patient's consent for a particular operation, may the doctor perform a different operation without the patient's consent?
- A doctor who has obtained a patient's consent for a particular operation may not perform a different operation without the patient's consent.
- Doctor's don't have free license to perform any surgery they wish.
- However, if it is an emergency and the surgery is required to save life or limb, the doctor can perform surgery without consent.
- There was no such emergency in this case. The finding of the problem in the left ear was completely independent of the operation on the right ear.
- An act committed without the consent of the P amounts to battery regardless of the skill with which it was performed.
- However, this will play into how much the P can recover in damages. (nature of operation and good faith of D)
- Scope of consent was exceeded.