Cotnam v. Wisdom
Supreme Court of Arkansas
104 S.W. 164 (1907)
The decedent, A.M. Harrison, was thrown from a street car and suffered serious injuries that rendered him unconscious. F.L. Wisdom and another surgeon (plaintiffs) were asked by a passerby to assist Harrison. They performed a complicated surgery to try to save his life, but he died without ever regaining consciousness. T.T. Cotnam (defendant), as administrator of Harrison’s estate, refused to pay Wisdom and the other surgeon for their services, claiming that Harrison, who was unconscious when the surgeons treated him, could not have assented to the treatment provided. The trial court instructed the jury that if the evidence showed that Wisdom and the other surgeon provided professional services to Harrison in an emergency context, then the estate should be found liable to plaintiffs for the reasonable value of those services, and that the jury could consider the ability of the decedent to pay in determining the reasonable charge for the professional services rendered. The jury found in favor of Wisdom and the other surgeon. Cotnam appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hill, C.J.)
Concurrence (Battle and Wood, J.J.)
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