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Tanski v. Grouw

2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 700, 2012 WL 1057970 (2012)

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Tanski v. Grouw

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division

2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 700, 2012 WL 1057970 (2012)

Facts

Thomas Tanski (plaintiff) tore his right biceps tendon while bowling and received medical care for the injury from Dr. Brian Van Grouw (defendant). Grouw ordered an MRI scan and recommended that Tanski undergo surgery to repair the tendon. Grouw told Tanski that one possibility was not to have the surgery. Tanski knew that there was a chance he would not regain full strength in his right arm. Tanski did not recall Grouw talking about the potential risk of nerve injury due to the surgery. Grouw recalled telling Tanski that nerve damage was a possibility due to the surgery but not discussing the percentage of risk involved. Tanski opted to have the surgery and signed a standard form indicating that he had been advised of the possible significant risks and complications. The consent-for-surgery form did not list nerve injury as a significant risk. Tanski suffered a severe postsurgical nerve injury. Tanski underwent another operation performed by a surgeon, who reported that the biceps tendon had not been properly repaired and that there was a surgical nerve injury. Tanski filed medical-malpractice and informed-consent claims against Grouw and his orthopedic associates (defendants). The jury found in favor of Grouw on the medical-malpractice claim and in favor of Tanski on the informed-consent claim. The jury particularly found that Grouw did not obtain informed consent from Tanski prior to the surgery under New Jersey law because a reasonable person in the same circumstances would not have consented to the surgery if informed of the risk of nerve injury. Grouw claimed that Tanski did not present evidence involving the materiality of the risk according to the state standard. The trial court entered judgment on the jury verdict. Grouw appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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