Largey v. Rothman
Supreme Court of New Jersey
540 A.2d 504 (1988)
After a mammogram revealed a mass in her breast and enlarged lymph nodes, Janice Largey (plaintiff) met with a surgeon, Donald Rothman (defendant). Rothman recommended a biopsy, which Largey agreed to. During the procedure, Rothman extracted a piece of the mass and excised the nodes. Both proved benign. Approximately six weeks later, Largey developed lymphedema, swelling caused by poor drainage brought about by the excision of her lymph nodes. Largey sued Rothman in a New Jersey court, alleging negligence and battery. Her negligence claim was based on Rothman’s failure to warn Largey about the possible risk of lymphedema and, accordingly, Rothman’s failure to obtain informed consent to excise the nodes. In his defense, Rothman argued that because the risk of lymphedema was so small, he was not required to disclose it. The trial court instructed the jury that Rothman obtained informed consent if he gave Largey information that reasonable physicians under similar circumstances would have given to patients undergoing the same procedure. A jury decided in favor of Rothman. The Appellate Division affirmed, citing Kaplan v. Haines, 96 N.J. Super. 242 (App. Div. 1967), aff’d, 51 N.J. 404 (1968). Largey appealed, challenging the issue of informed consent.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
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