Payne v. Marion General Hospital
Indiana Court of Appeals
549 N.E.2d 1043 (1990)
Cloyd Payne had multiple medical conditions, and his health deteriorated to the point that he required hospitalization. Payne was treated by Dr. Miles Donaldson (defendant) at Marion General Hospital (defendant) for several days, but Payne’s health continued to decline. In particular, Payne’s breathing became so difficult that he had trouble speaking. However, Payne communicated with his nurses through occasional speech and frequent eye contact. After five days in the hospital, Payne’s condition became severe, and the nurses contacted Payne’s sister to ask her to come to the hospital. Shortly after arriving, Payne’s sister told the nurses that she did not want Payne resuscitated if he started dying. Donaldson was not present at the hospital, but he spoke to Payne’s sister and the nurse on the phone. Donaldson then ordered the nurse to enter a no code on Payne’s chart, which notified other caregivers to not resuscitate Payne if he became distressed. Payne was awake and conscious during these events, but Donaldson never spoke to or examined Payne. Several hours later, Payne died without anyone attempting resuscitation. Donaldson later sued Payne’s estate (plaintiff), seeking payment for Payne’s care. In response, the estate countersued Donaldson for medical malpractice. Specifically, the estate alleged that Donaldson had violated his duty to get Payne’s informed consent before withholding potentially lifesaving resuscitation. Donaldson argued that he did not need to get Payne’s consent because Payne was incompetent, and, therefore, Payne’s sister was allowed to operate as Payne’s surrogate and provide consent on his behalf. The trial court entered summary judgment for Donaldson, and Payne’s estate appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Buchanan, J.)
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