Aiken v. Clary

396 S.W.2d 668 (1965)

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Aiken v. Clary

Missouri Supreme Court
396 S.W.2d 668 (1965)

Facts

Dr. Clary (defendant) diagnosed Mr. Aiken (plaintiff) with paranoid schizophrenia and recommended electric and insulin shock therapy for treatment. Dr. Clary informed Aiken that the insulin therapy would put him to sleep and that there were risks involved like those associated with anesthesia if Aiken were to overreact to the insulin. After consulting with his wife and family physician, Aiken signed a consent form for Dr. Clary to administer the treatments. Aiken began insulin shock treatments shortly after his diagnosis, and after a series of treatments over 10 days, Aiken went into a coma. Aiken suffered from a delayed awakening from the insulin, which caused permanent brain damage and total disability. Aiken sued Dr. Clary for malpractice, alleging that Dr. Clary negligently failed to inform Aiken of the risks of the therapy. At trial, a specialist in neurology and psychiatry testified on Aiken’s behalf regarding the extent of Aiken’s injuries and regarding the risks involved with the shock treatments. However, the specialist did not testify regarding an acceptable disclosure given Aiken’s circumstance. A jury ruled in favor of Dr. Clary. After being denied a new trial, Aiken appealed. Aiken’s counsel presented an earlier opinion of the court to support the argument that expert testimony was not necessary regarding the disclosure standard.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Finch, J.)

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