Sherer v. James, No. 0437

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtGOOLSBY; GOOLSBY
Citation334 S.E.2d 283,286 S.C. 304
PartiesJohn H. SHERER, as Administrator of the Estate of Scott Middleton Sherer, Appellant, v. Charles A. JAMES, M.D., Respondent. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 0437
Decision Date28 February 1985

Page 283

334 S.E.2d 283
286 S.C. 304
John H. SHERER, as Administrator of the Estate of Scott
Middleton Sherer, Appellant,
Charles A. JAMES, M.D., Respondent.
No. 0437.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard Feb. 28, 1985.
Decided April 15, 1985.
Reheard June 18, 1985.
On Rehearing Aug. 22, 1985.

[286 S.C. 305] O. Fayrell Furr, Jr. and Charles L. Henshaw, Jr. of Law Offices of Fayrell Furr, Jr., Myrtle Beach, for appellant.

Donald V. Richardson, III, and Charles E. Carpenter, Jr. of Richardson, Plowden, Grier & Howser, Columbia, for respondent.

[286 S.C. 306] GOOLSBY, Judge:

This is a medical malpractice case brought by Scott Middleton Sherer against the respondent Charles A. James, M.D. Following a jury trial, judgment was entered

Page 284

in favor of James. John H. Sherer, the administrator of the Sherer's estate, appeals. 1 We reverse and remand for a new trial.

The only issue we need address concerns the trial judge's refusal to give Scott's request to charge concerning an increased risk of physical harm due to the negligent performance of an undertaking to render services.

Scott's amended complaint alleges that he lost his left testicle as a proximate result of James's negligent failure to diagnose and treat him for torsion of the testicle after James "undertook to advise" him regarding the cause of the pain Scott was experiencing in the lower left side of his abdomen. The amended complaint further alleges that James's failure to exercise reasonable care to perform his undertaking contributed to the progression of Scott's condition.

On Wednesday evening, January 19, 1977, according to the testimony of Scott's mother, Scott, who was then twelve years old, developed abdominal pain after playing basketball. His mother telephoned James, a pediatrician. She told James that Scott had pain in his left side and that there was a swollen area at the site of the pain. James advised the mother he thought Scott had pulled a muscle. He prescribed aspirin for Scott and recommended heat be applied to the painful area.

Later the same evening, Scott's mother again telephoned James and informed him that Scott had vomited and was still in pain. She reminded James that Scott had a history of testicle problems. James, however, diagnosed Scott as having a "stomach virus" and suggested Scott be given paregoric.

James called Scott's mother Thursday morning to inquire about Scott's condition. The mother told James that Scott "had a fitful night." James directed her to call him if Scott's condition changed.

[286 S.C. 307] On Friday morning, Scott discovered that his left testicle was swollen. His mother telephoned James's office and related Scott's symptoms to the nurse. The latter directed the mother to bring Scott in for examination. Shortly afterward, James examined Scott, determined he had torsion of the testicle, and immediately referred him to a urologist, Joe Miller, M.D. Miller removed Scott's left testicle later that day.

A professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, Hiram B. Curry, M.D., offered expert medical testimony in support of Scott's case. He testified that if treatment for torsion of the testicle is not commenced within 48 hours from the onset of symptoms the testicle is irreparably damaged. Curry also testified that if Scott had been diagnosed on Wednesday night as having torsion of the testicle and if appropriate treatment had been rendered there would have been a better than 50 per cent chance of saving his testicle. Curry also expressed the opinion that James would have diagnosed Scott's condition as torsion of the testicle had he examined Scott on Wednesday evening and that James's failure to examine Scott on Wednesday evening constituted a departure from the applicable standard of care.

At trial, Scott's counsel requested the trial judge to charge the jury that:

One who undertakes, gratuitously or for consideration, to render services to another which he should recognize [as] necessary for the protection of the other['s] person ... is subject to liability to [the] other for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care to perform his undertaking, if his failure to exercise such care increases the risk of such harm....

See RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF TORTS Section 323(a) (1965). The trial judge refused the request because he thought his charge "covered it."

The trial judge's charge, however, did not embrace the requested instruction. No portion of the trial judge's charge dealt with increased risk of harm resulting from a physician's failure to exercise reasonable

Page 285

care in undertaking to render medical services.

[286 S.C. 308] Instructions to the jury should be confined to the issues made by the pleadings and supported by the evidence. Baker v. Weaver, 279 S.C. 479, 309 S.E.2d 770 ...

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9 cases
  • DeBurkarte v. Louvar, No. 85-1024
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 17, 1986
    ...73 N.C.App. 196, 326 S.E.2d 387, 393 (1985); Jones v. Montefiore Hospital, 494 Pa. 410, 431 A.2d 920, 924 (1981); Sherer v. James, 286 S.C. 304, 334 S.E.2d 283, 285 (App.1985); Truan v. Smith, 578 S.W.2d 73, 76-77 (Tenn.1979); Cloys v. Turbin, 608 S.W.2d 697, 701 (Tex.Civ.App.1980); Brown v......
  • State v. Peer, No. 2444
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 5, 1995
    ...which are supported by the evidence. McCourt by and through McCourt v. Abernathy, 318 S.C. 301, 457 S.E.2d 603 (1995); Sherer v. James, 286 S.C. 304, 334 S.E.2d 283 (Ct.App.1985), rev'd on other grounds, 290 S.C. 404, 351 S.E.2d 148 (1986). It is not error to read to the jury a statute defi......
  • Singletary v. South Carolina Dept. of Educ., No. 2210
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 10, 1994
    ...has the duty to give a requested instruction that correctly states the law applicable to the issues and the evidence. Sherer v. James, 286 S.C. 304, 334 S.E.2d 283 (Ct.App.1985), rev'd on other grounds 290 S.C. 404, 351 S.E.2d 148 (1986). To warrant reversal for refusal to give a requested ......
  • Sherer v. James, No. 22628
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 3, 1986
    ...Jr., Columbia, for respondent. NESS, Chief Justice: We granted certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals reported at 286 S.C. 304, 334 S.E.2d 283 (Ct.App.1985). We reverse and reinstate the jury verdict in favor of petitioner On a Wednesday evening, twelve-year-old Scott She......
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