46 Mich. 160, 9 N.W. 146, 41 Am.Rep. 154
Supreme Court of Michigan.
Filed June 8, 1881.
Where a physician takes an unprofessional unmarried man with him to attend a case of
confinement, and no real necessity exists for the latter's assistance, both are liable in
damages; and it makes no difference that the patient or husband supposed at the time
that the intruder was a medical man and therefore submitted without objection to his
presence. Damages may lie for an injury done when its full extent is discovered, though
long after the act from which it springs. A physician took an unprofessional friend with
him to attend a case of confinement when there was no emergency requiring the latter's
presence. The physician told the patient's husband that he had brought a friend with him
to help him carry his things and he was accordingly admitted. The patient on afterwards
discovering the facts sued both in damages. Held, that the plaintiff and her husband had
a right to presume that the outsider was a medical associate; that in obtaining admission
without disclosing his true character, the defendants were guilty of deceit; that plaintiff
had a right to testify that she had supposed he was a physician or medical student, and
also to give evidence of whatever may have been said at the time tending to support
such supposition. It was also admissible to ask a competent witness as to the custom
among physicians in regard to calling assistance in these cases. A witness cannot be
asked what he stated in an affidavit, but the affidavit itself must be produced.
Error to Gratiot. Defendants bring error.
John H. Kimball and Jas. K. Wright, for defendant in error.
The declaration in this case in the first count sets forth that the plaintiff was at a time and
place named a poor married woman, and being confined in child-bed and a stranger,
employed in a professional capacity defendant De May who was a physician; that
defendant visited the plaintiff as such, and against her desire and intending to deceive
her wrongfully, etc., introduced and caused to be present at the house and lying-in room
of the plaintiff and while she was in the pains of parturition the defendant Scattergood,
who intruded upon the privacy of the plaintiff, indecently, wrongfully and unlawfully laid
hands upon and assaulted her, the said Scattergood, which was well known to defendant
De May, being a young unmarried man, a stranger to the plaintiff and utterly ignorant of
the practice of medicine, while the plaintiff believed that he was an assistant physician, a
competent and proper person to be present and to aid her in her extremity.
The second and third counts while differing in form set forth a similar cause of action.
The evidence on the part of the plaintiff tended to prove the allegations of the