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Question: Alphie, a minor celebrity, was recently admitted to hospital following an accident in which he damaged his leg. Due to his shock, Alphie lost consciousness shortly after he was brought into the hospital. The doctor who examined him was very concerned, and called the surgeon who decided it was necessary to remove two of Alphie’s toes. When he woke therefore, Alphie was missing his toes and was particularly upset that he had not agreed to this.

During Alphie’s week long stay in hospital to recover, the man in the bed beside him, Jack, was very disruptive. Alphie found this increasingly irritating as he could not sleep. He told Jack to ‘pipe down’ but Jack insisted ‘I’ll do what I like’. At this point Alphie sat up in his bed and shouted, ‘you know, you are very lucky I can’t get up right now, or I swear I would bash your head in.’ In response, Jack, got up from his own bed and grabbing Alphie by the collar whispered menacingly in his face ‘just watch yourself boy, I can hurt you more easily than you can harm me.’ Alphie was left very shaken.

When Alphie’s friend Susan visited she offered to put a sleeping drug in Jack’s water. Alphie agreed and Susan drugged Jack’s water while he was in the bathroom. Seeing her opportunity, Susan also blocked the bathroom door with a hospital trolley, trapping Jack in. Jack was shut in the bathroom for almost 10 minutes, but because he was showering, a hospital porter moved the trolley before he tried to get out. Jack therefore never realised he was trapped. When he drank some water a few minutes later, Jack fell asleep and felt quite poorly when he woke up.

On leaving hospital, Alphie gave an interview to a press reporter. He told her all about his stay in hospital, and joked that he and Susan had ‘got their own back’ on Jack. Since he read this in the newspaper, Jack has suffered depression and nightmares for which he has needed medical treatment.

Advise Alphie and Jack of any claims they may have in tort.

Answer: A may have a claim in battery (the unlawful contact which is direct and intentional (or reckless)). There’s no minimum level of violence which the law will to accept and the force must be applied directly upon C. The surgeon made direct contact with A by removing his toes. The contact must be intentional, not necessarily the consequences. Here both elements are present: the surgeon intentionally removed A’s toes and intended for A to have two less toes. The tension here lies between medical intervention and lack of consent, especially as A is upset that he hadn’t agreed to this. Generally, imposing medical treatment upon a competent patient without his consent amounts to battery. However, this doesn’t apply where the patient isn’t competent e.g. due to being unconscious – t......(short extract)

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Details: - Mark: 65% | Course: Tort Law | Year: 2nd/3rd | Words: 800 | References: No | Date written: November, 2016 | Date submitted: December 06, 2017 | Coursework ID: 1041

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