Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brook v. St. John’s Hickey Memorial Hospital case brief

Brook v. St. John’s Hickey Memorial Hospital case brief summary
380 N.E.2d 72 (1978)

Before the court was defendant physician's petition to transfer from the Court of Appeals, First District (Indiana), which granted a new trial upon its reversal of a jury verdict for the physician in a medical malpractice action from plaintiffs, injured party and spouse. The court had held that the trial judge committed reversible error in failing to give certain portions of the jury instructions tendered by the injured party and spouse.


  • The court granted the physician's petition to transfer, finding that the court of appeals had committed error in reversing the trial judge's judgment. 
  • The court accordingly affirmed the trial-level judgment for the physician on the malpractice claim. 
  • The court noted that a requested instruction was given properly where it related to the issues in the case and was supported by the evidence. 
  • In the instant case, the trial judge properly gave an instruction that correctly informed the jury of a physician's duty. 
  • It was not erroneous for the trial judge to refuse to give another instruction which emphasized one aspect of a physician's duties that had not been supported by the evidence in the case. 
  • Thus, as the jury was fully and adequately informed as to a physician's duties, there was no error in refusing the tendered instruction. 
  • Moreover, the jury's verdict was not contrary to law, particularly where there was sufficient evidence of probative value for the jury to have found that the physician was not negligent in exercising his professional judgment in the injured party's case and choosing the calf muscles as an injection site.

The court granted the petition to transfer, vacated the judgment under review, and affirmed the trial judge's judgment in favor of the physician in all respects.

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