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Kennedy v. Parrott

North Carolina Supreme Court
90 S.E.2d 754 (1956)



Dr. Fountain Parrott (defendant), a surgeon, diagnosed Phoebe Kennedy (plaintiff) with appendicitis and recommended surgery. Kennedy agreed to the surgery. During surgery, Parrott discovered cysts on Kennedy’s ovaries and punctured them, which is medically indicated because such cysts can grow and become dangerous. After surgery, Kennedy developed phlebitis. Parrott informed Kennedy that, while puncturing the cysts, he had cut a blood vessel and caused the phlebitis. Parrott additionally told another doctor that he had caused the phlebitis. Parrott recommended that Kennedy visit another hospital and agreed to pay the bill. Another doctor operated on the phlebitis for the purpose of trying “to correct the damage that was done.” Kennedy sued Parrott for negligence, but provided no real evidence of damages or bad judgment on the part of Parrott. Expert witnesses testified that puncturing the cysts was medically indicated. Parrott moved for involuntary nonsuit. The trial court granted Parrott’s motion. Kennedy appealed to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, resting her theory of recovery on the claim that Parrott had committed a battery or trespass on the person when he exceeded the scope of her consent during the operation, rather than a negligence theory.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Barnhill, C.J.)

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