MOHR V. WILLIAMS, Supreme Court of MN, 1905, 104 N.W. 12

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MOHR V. WILLIAMS, Supreme Court of MN, 1905, 104 N.W. 12 Powered By Docstoc
MOHR V. WILLIAMS, Supreme Court of MN, 1905, 104 N.W. 12 History: Mohr sued Williams for assault and battery; Trial court found verdict for Mohr for $14,322.50; Williams moved for judgment notwithstanding verdict (or new trial) and motion for judgment was denied, but new trial was granted b/c damages were excessive; Williams appealed from order denying motion for judgment and appealed from order granting a new trial Facts: Mohr went to Williams b/c of problems w/her right ear; Williams also examine the left, but couldn’t make a full and complete diagnosis b/c of foreign substances in it; Mohr’s right ear had a large polyp and perforation of the lower drum membrane; after Mohr talked to her family doctor, she decided to go through w/surgery; after Mohr underwent anesthesia, Williams discovered left ear was far worse than right ear, family doctor concurred, and Williams operated on left ear instead; surgery was successful, but Mohr complains she lost hearing, injury to her person, etc. Issue(s): Whether Williams’ surgery on Mohr’s left ear instead of rights, while she was under anesthesia, constituted assault and battery. Holding: Order denying motion for judgment withstanding verdict affirmed Analysis: Consent from patient was necessary; ordinarily the patient must be consulted and consent given before operation; every patient has right to himself If a person was unconscious, a doctor would be permitted to do what he needed to do to save his life or limb and consent would be implied Williams’ acts amount to at least a technical assault and battery—acts were performed w/out consent, which is wrongful, which is unlawful