Battery is the harmful or offensive touching of another person. Medical battery is precisely this, but in a medical setting, where a doctor or medical professional causes a harmful or offensive touching to their patients.
The key to proving a medical battery is proving intent. The doctor must have acted intentionally to cause harm or offensive contact with the patient. With traditional battery, courts are split as to whether the plaintiff has to prove the intent to harm. There is no need to prove the doctor wanted to cause harm in a medical battery, only that the touching was intentional.
The elements of proof for a medical battery claim are:
- Actual cause;
- Proximate cause;
- Harmful or offensive;
- By a medical professional
The most common example of medical battery occurs when a doctor performs a non-emergency medical procedure without getting the patient’s consent first. For example, Dr. X gained consent from a patient to undergo heart surgery. While in surgery, Dr. X removes the kidney. This is a medical battery because Dr. X did not gain consent to remove the patient’s kidney.
However, if Dr. X removed the kidney because, while performing heart surgery, Dr. X realized there were complications. The patient’s best chance for survival would be to remove the kidney. There would most likely be no medical battery claim. Medical battery does not apply when it is an emergency.
Actual injury is not necessary in a medical battery case. This is because harmful does not necessarily mean that harm was caused. If the patient’s kidney is removed without an emergency, and the patient is better off because it was removed, there is still a case of medical battery. Removing a person’s organ without permission is a battery.
WIND: seems like this case is an probable case of medical battery.