Torts I, Pages 199–201

Scott v. Bradford

Supreme Court of Oklahoma, 1979

Facts:

Plaintiff visited defendant for treatment for incontinence, which he corrected with a hysterectomy, which plaintiff signed a routine consent form for. She maintains that she was not informed as to the risks involved or of alternatives available, which she would have chosen had she known. She sued over this lack of information before surgery.

Procedural History:

The jury found for the defendant.

Issues:

  • Does Oklahoma adhere to the doctrine of informed consent as the basis of an action for medical malpractice?

  • Did the present instructions adequately advice the jury of defendant's duty?

Rules:

  • A physician has a duty to disclose all material risks of the procedure.

    When a risk is open to debate as to whether it must be disclosed, it is a matter for the fact-finder to determine.

    This does not apply when the patient should know the risks, when it would detrimental for the patient to know the risks, or in emergency situations.

  • A patient's medical malpractice action must show:

    1. Defendant physician failed to inform him adequately of a material risk before securing his consent to the proposed treatment;
    2. If he had been informed of the risks he would not have consented to the treatment;
    3. The adverse consequences that were not made known did in fact occur and he was injured as a result of submitting to the treatment.

Reasoning:

Patient's rights are important and must their sovereignty must be protected. But this rule was new and hence was not applied retroactively. While broad, the judge's instructions were applied correctly at the time.

Holding:

Yes, the doctrine of informed consent is an action for medical malpractice. Affirmed.

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