Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bang v. Charles T. Miller Hospital case brief

Bang v. Charles T. Miller Hospital case brief summary
88 N.W.2d 186 (1958)

Plaintiffs, a patient and his wife, challenged a decision from the Ramsey County District Court (Minnesota), which denied plaintiffs' alternative motion to vacate the dismissal of their action against defendant doctor or for a new trial. The patient and his wife filed an action for damages against the doctor for alleged assault or unauthorized operation by the doctor on the patient.

The patient was referred to the doctor after he was informed that he had an enlargement of the prostate gland and bladder soreness. The doctor told the patient that he wished to make a cystoscopic exam because he was not certain of the exact nature of the patient's ailment. The doctor testified that he did not tell the patient at the office visit that any examination the doctor was going to make had anything to with the patient's spermatic cords. After performing the cystoscopic exam, the doctor told the patient that a transurethral prostatic resection should be done. The operation was performed the next day. As part of the operation the patient's spermatic cords were severed. The doctor testified he was uncertain if he informed the patient of this part of the procedure.


  • On appeal, the court reversed, holding that whether or not the patient consented to the severance of his spermatic cords was a fact question for the jury and that it was error for the trial court to dismiss the action. 
  • The court held that in a situation where there was no immediate emergency, the patient should have been informed before the operation that his spermatic cords were to be severed.

The court reversed the dismissal of the patient and the wife's action against the doctor. The court granted a new trial.

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