Legal Case Brief

Facts: At a teaching hospital, Mullins who is the plaintiff marked or ticked the section of approval form that consented to “the presence of healthcare learners”. She was assured by the attending Anaesthesiologist that she would handle the anaesthesia. However, when Mullins was unconscious during the surgery, a student (VanHoey) was allowed by the Anaesthesiologist to perform intubation. Mullins’ oesophagus was lacerated by VanHoey as it was VanHoey’s first day practicing on a live patient.

The gynaecologist, the anaesthesiologist, VanHoey and the doctors’ were sued by Mullins for battery and other claims. A summary judgment was granted for the defendants by the trial court on all counts. The Court of Appeals supported the Mullin’s claim, whereas the Indiana Supreme Court reversed, saying that the claim was not actionable. Brief Fact Summary: VanHoey, a medical student lacerated the Oesophagus of Mullins during a surgery while performing intubation.

Student involvement was not approved by Mullins in her surgery. Battery and lost claim were filed by Mullins. Issue: In addition to the intent to make contact or touch, whether the intent to cause harm is required for the tort of battery claim. Holding: Yes. Mullins could not prove that Vanhoey “acted intending to cause” harm, though VanHoey “touched Mullins in a harmful and offensive manner without permission”. VanHoey believed that she had the permission to perform intubation and was relying on her doctor’s authority.

The court could not find an materialistic facts that could prove VanHoey wrong. Therefore VanHoey was entitled for the summary judgment. Rule: Battery requires a harmful or offensive touching, without consent, with the intent to cause the resulting harm or offense. Discussion: The opinion in this case proves that the actor’s intent to make contact or touch is not sufficient to claim for battery or lost. The intend to cause harm that results from touch by the actor should be proved.