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    Did I commit battery? I did nothing wrong...

    David J. Goldberg, M.D., J.D.Dr. Joe wants to begin to use a new dermal filler.  Because he has always tried to treat patients in a most conscientious manner, he reached out to the company selling the filler and asked Dr. Al, a world-renowned injector, to come to Dr. Joe’ s office to help him with his first day of treatments. Dr. Joe had three patients scheduled on the first day. He had told all three patients that Dr. Al, the world-renowned physician would be assisting in the treatments. One of the three patients was very anxious and scheduled the treatment only because Dr. Al would be assisting. All patients signed a general consent form that simply stipulated their agreement to undergo the procedure by Dr. Joe.

    Unfortunately, on the actual day of treatment, Dr. Al had to cancel his visit at the last moment. All three patients were treated by Dr. Joe. There were no complications. However, soon after the procedure date, the anxious patient became increasingly distraught because he had so much swelling from the injection. He was certain this occurred because the treatment was performed solely by Dr. Joe. The swelling resolved over several weeks. He sued Dr. Joe for battery. The basis of the suit was that, although no untoward event happened during the procedure (malpractice), a procedure was performed on him for which he never provided consent. The plaintiff expected Dr. Al to be present during the procedure.

    Dr. Joe has now determined that a lawsuit based in battery will not be covered by his medical malpractice insurance. He has conceded that the patient had been told that the procedure would be performed by both he and Dr. Al. However, he cannot understand how a battery cause of action could proceed against him. He knows that such a lawsuit, if successful against him, could cause him to lose his medical license even though no untoward event occurred.

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    NEXT: Battey as cause of action

    David J. Goldberg, M.D., J.D.
    Dr. Goldberg is Director of Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey, Director of Mohs Surgery and laser research, ...


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