February 10, 2014

Cotnam v. Wisdom | Case Brief | 83 Ark. 601, 104 S.W. 164 (1907) - Supreme Court of Arkansas

FACTS: The defendants are doctors who went to assist a man who was injured in a car accident.  The man injured was unconscious when the doctors tried an emergency operation and he eventually died without regaining consciousness.

HISTORY: Judgment for plaintiffs.  defendant appeals.  Reversed and remanded.

ISSUE: Can the plaintiffs recover the costs of their efforts to save the victim from his estate when they did not have consent from the man or anyone representing his estate that they would be compensated?


RATIONALE: Services provided to a patient whether he be "prince or pauper" should be paid for.  There existed a "quasi contract" which entitles the doctor's to receive some money for their efforts to save the man's life.  If it had been a baby, drunkard, or insane person services would also have been provided with the understanding that they would be paid for.

DISPOSITION: Judgment is reversed and cause remanded.