Canterbury vs. Spence


Canterburyvs. Spence

Canterburyvs. Spence

Theverdict on the case Canterbury v. Spence was a significant precedencein relation to the responsibility of a physician to the patients.Canterbury agreed to a surgery by Spence after a process of medicalinvestigation done by the latter. On advice from Spence the doctor,Canterbury did not object and went to surgery without asking for therisks, while Spence did not explain (Johnson et al, 2009). However,the process did not end as expected, a procedure that almostparalyzed Mr. Canterbury. As a result, Canterbury sued Spence forprofessional negligence of not informing him of all the risks thatwere involved in the surgery. Canterbury also sued the hospital forpoorly equipping the operation room, leading to a faulty surgery andfor not having a nurse to attend to him.

Themain issue was whether a physician should explain all the risksinvolved in a medical procedure being administered to the patient.The court ruled in Spence’s favor, a ruling that Canterburyappealed. The appeal case ruled in favor of Canterbury, holding thata physician should explain to the patient about all the risksinvolved in a medical treatment operation or procedure (Johnson etal, 2009).

Theimpact of the case is a lasting responsibility being put crystalclear on the physicians. The case made it express that a physicianshould convey all the information concerning a medical procedure to apatient. However, according to Johnson (2009), there is an exceptionto this rule. The exception is that in case of unconsciousness of apatient, or when such disclosure could threaten the life of apatient. This case therefore created the guideline for the relatedcircumstances and set the ground for the exceptions to theresponsibility created.


Johnson,S.H. (2009). HealthLaw and Bioethics: Cases in Context.Alphenaan den Rijn:Aspen Publishers

Johnson,S.H., Krause, J.H., SAVER,R., &amp Wilson, R.F. (2009). Healthlaw bioethics.Alphenaan den Rijn:Aspen Publishers

Related Posts

© All Right Reserved