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Hurley v. Eddingfield

Citation. 59 N.E. 1058 (Ind. 1901)
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Brief Fact Summary.

The man whose estate was controlled by Hurley (Plaintiff) died after Eddingfield (Defendant), a licensed doctor, refused to render medical care.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Doctors are not required as a result of their licensure to provide medical care to all who ask for it.


The man whose estate was controlled by Hurley (Plaintiff) fell ill. He called for his family doctor, Eddingfield (Defendant), to come to treat him. Defendant refused to come without any obvious reason, and the man died. Plaintiff sued Defendant for wrongful death.


Did Defendant have a duty as a licensed doctor to treat the sick man?


No, the Court held there was no duty for Defendant to treat the man.


The point of doctor’s licenses is to allow them to practice medicine at their will, not at the will of others. Defendant had no duty to perform medical services just because he had a medical license.

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