Medical Negligence: HOOFNEL V. SEGAL, M.D. (SC 6/15/2006)

TORTS:  MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE (Battery and consent)

DATE:  6/15/2006

This appeal is from a summary judgment granted to Appellees, Drs . James Segal and Susan Galandiuk, in a medical battery claim arising out of a scheduled surgery to treat Appellant Eva Hoofnel’s colorectal cancer. Even though Appellant admitted the medical necessity of removing her ovaries and uterus during the surgical procedure, Appellant alleges she did not consent for the removal of these organs.’ The Jefferson Circuit Court entered summary judgment in favor of Appellees. The Court of Appeals  affirmed, and we granted review. We affirm; however for reasons different from those of the lower courts .

The Jefferson Circuit Court granted Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, and held that the consent to operate form was indisputable evidence that Appellant gave Appellees consent to perform the procedures. The trial court concluded, as a matter of law, that this consent defeated Appellant’s battery claim.

Appellant failed to present expert testimony to negate informed consent. That is, Appellant failed to offer testimony concerning the language that should have been used in the consent form.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court and held that under the facts of the case, no reasonable person would have refused consent to the removal of the uterus and ovaries . The Court of Appeals found that under the circumstances consent was implied for removal of the uterus and ovaries.

SC disagreed with the COA and followed the trial court’s reasoning that find the signed consent form to be clear evidence that summary judgment was proper.

Michael Stevens, ed.

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