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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A stellate ganglion block was performed on Janie Sanchez. According to the record, the block was her third under the recommendation or with the approval of Dr. Kevin Crawford. At the time, Crawford and Dr. Lowry Schaub had just completed a procedure whereby they placed Sanchez under general anesthesia and manipulated her wrist. Some time before undergoing the wrist manipulation, but after having received the first two ganglion blocks, Sanchez verbally told Crawford that she did not want any more blocks. Because of this, Crawford suggested the wrist manipulation as an alternative. After Sanchez received the third block while under general anesthetic, a large abscess developed at the site of the injection. This resulted in her experiencing pain and eventually having several of her spinal discs fused. Sanchez sued the two doctors, contending, among other things, that they acted without her informed consent. Upon entertaining cross-motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted those of Crawford and Schaub while denying that of Sanchez. The two doctors had argued that their patient had consented to the block via written consent forms executed before undergoing the manipulation. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Sanchez purportedly told Crawford of her refusal to undergo further blocks or other treatment entailing injections for the pain in her wrist. Nevertheless, she signed several consent forms granting him and Schaub authority to proceed with the manipulation and administer anesthetics. The ability of the physicians to act and the scope of consent granted by Sanchez revolved around and were limited by concepts such as necessity, judgment and advisability. When practicing medicine, doctors represent that they possess the reasonable degree of skill and learning possessed by others in their profession. The exercise by a physician of his judgment is gauged against the accepted standards in the medical community. Upon comparison of the phrases used to describe the authority afforded both doctors via the consent forms with the general duties imposed upon physicians by the law, the court concludes that the forms were little more than a reiteration of the law. Whether the doctors exceeded the leeway granted and thereby exposed themselves to liability for undertaking a procedure outside the scope of Sanchez’ consent depended upon whether their actions, under the circumstances appearing before them, comported with objective standards of care applicable to those in their profession. Their determination that the ganglion block was needed was not alone enough to shield them from liability if the decision nonetheless deviated from those standards of care, and the court rejects their argument to the contrary. The court finds evidence of record raising material issues of fact regarding whether the actions of Crawford and Schaub comported with accepted medical standards when performing the block. This, in turn, means that material issues of fact exist regarding whether the two physicians acted within the scope of consent granted by Sanchez. Thus, they were not entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the court concludes. OPINION:Quinn, CJ; Quinn, CJ and Campbell, JJ.

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