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Landmark Case

Case Name: Jerry W. CANTERBURY
v. Wm SPENCE, MD & Washington Hospital Center

Date, Location, Cite: 1972 DC
464 Fed Rptr 2d 722
US Circuit Court of Appeals for DC

19 year old man had back pain. Defendant MD said he needed laminectomy & said it was no more serious than any other operation. Mother signed consent. Patient fell 1 day post-operation, became paraplegic & sued. The Court directed a verdict for defendants. On appeal it was reversed. The patient makes the decision, not thr Dr., so patient must be informed of risks. This set the "REASONABLE MAN" standard for informed consent for Rx. Many states use "reasonable Dr." cf TRUMAN v. THOMAS, (1980)-- Alabama uses reasonable man based on WINCHESTER v. BARTLETT (1988)