What could the doctor have done differently to have avoided being sued in this situation?
Must post first. Scenario (based on a
real Michigan case): A patient went to his doctor complaining of
stomach pains. The doctor diagnosed the patient with a bleeding
ulcer, recommending certain procedures and “promising to cure” it.
However, ultimately the treatment(s) were unsuccessful. The patient
sued the doctor for breach of contract. Was a contract created in
this case-were all of the elements of a contract satisfied? Explain
your answer. If there was a contract, what type of contract was it
and why? Did the doctor breach a contract with the patient?
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some things to ponder as you respond to this
question: We can all agree that it was stupid of the doctor to say
what was said. No debate there, so don’t waste your time talking
about that. The question for you, though, is whether we can hold
him liable for damages for breach of contract. Now, let’s make a
distinction between a contract to treat the patient (which
obviously existed), and a contract to cure the patient, which is
what the two sides are arguing about. Remember that there are two
essential elements to contract formation: mutual assent +
consideration. Was there an exchange of consideration to support an
agreement to cure the patient? If so, what was it? There is a BIG
difference between a mere promise and a contract. Was this just a
promise, or did it meet all the requirements to be an enforceable
contract? What could the doctor have done differently to have
avoided being sued in this situation?
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