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Hidding v. Williams
Louisiana Court of Appeals
578 So. 2d 1192 (1991)
Paul Hidding (plaintiff) visited Dr. Randall Williams (defendant) after experiencing excruciating back pain. Williams diagnosed Hidding with spinal stenosis and informed Hidding that without a laminectomy, Hidding would lose control of his lower body. Hidding agreed to the surgery. Prior to the surgery, Hidding signed a standard consent form, stating he was aware that the surgery may result in the loss of function of body organs and that he had asked his doctor any questions he had. Immediately after the surgery, Hidding lost control of his bowel and bladder, resulting in incontinence. Less than two years later, Williams’s medical license was suspended due to alcohol abuse. Hidding and his wife then filed a malpractice suit, alleging that Williams was negligent in performing the surgery and in obtaining informed consent. At trial, Hidding’s wife testified that Hidding had a sixth-grade education and that she believed the phrase “loss of function of body organs” meant that Hidding would have trouble walking. An expert witness for Hidding testified that the loss of bowel and bladder function should be discussed with a patient undergoing a laminectomy before obtaining consent. The trial judge found that Williams had performed the surgery negligently and had failed to obtain informed consent by failing to inform Hidding of the potential for nerve damage in the bowel and bladder and by not making the fact he was abusing alcohol known. Williams appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gothard, J.)
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