Scenario (based on a real Michigan case): A patient went to his doctor complaining of stomach pains

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 told the patient that he would be “good as new” after treatment The treatments were unsuccessful

Although most medical malpractice suits are based on negligence, this plaintiff made a claim for breach of contract At trial, the patient argued that the doctor promised to cure him, and did not, so the contract was breached The doctor responded that he had only promised to treat the patient, not cure him, and that there is always a chance that medical interventions will not succeed

Oral contracts can be perfectly legal and binding However, any contract (oral or written) must have both mutual assent and an exchange of consideration In this case, was there mutual assent? Why or why not? There is a big difference between a legally binding contract and a mere promise Which do you think happened in this case? What practical steps could the doctor have taken to prevent any legal liability in this situation?

 

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