State v. Brown, No. 41447.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtSTEVENS
Citation245 N.W. 348
Decision Date22 November 1932
Docket NumberNo. 41447.
PartiesSTATE v. BROWN.

245 N.W. 348

STATE
v.
BROWN.a1

No. 41447.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Nov. 22, 1932.


Appeal from District Court, Lee County; John E. Craig, Judge.

This is a proceeding in equity, under the statute, to secure the revocation of a physician's license to practice medicine. At the conclusion of the state's case, a motion was made to dismiss upon the ground that a prima facie case had not been made out. The motion was sustained, and the State appeals.

Reversed and remanded.

ALBERT and BLISS, JJ., dissenting.

[245 N.W. 348]

John Fletcher, Atty. Gen., Gerald O. Blake, Asst. Atty. Gen., and D. J. McNamara, Asst. Co. Atty., of Keokuk, for the State.

Burrows & Burrows, of Keokuk, for appellee.


G. L. Norman, of Keokuk, for witnesses Mary Leota, Mabel, and Paul O'Bryen.

STEVENS, C. J.

The petition charges that the defendant on September 7, 1931, procured, or aided in procuring, a criminal abortion upon a female child fifteen years of age, the same not being necessary to save her life. A license to practice medicine may be revoked or suspended when the licensee is guilty of immoral, unprofessional, or dishonorable conduct. Section 2492, Code 1931. So far as material to the present inquiry, unprofessional conduct may consist of “procurement or aiding or abetting in the procurement of a criminal abortion.” Section 2493, Code 1931.

The question before us is largely one of fact. The defendant filed no answer and introduced no testimony whatever upon the trial. The evidence on behalf of the state is lacking in definiteness and certainty, and leaves much to inference. The female child, whom we shall, for the purpose of our discussion, refer to as the patient, her father, mother and aunt were called as witnesses, but the patient was not permitted to testify to certain material matters upon the ground that her answers would tend to disgrace her. The effect of the court's ruling at this point, however, resulted in the exclusion of very little vital or important evidence.

[245 N.W. 349]

She was a witness before the grand jury, told her story to the county attorney in the presence of a deputy sheriff without objection or protest. Her mother or her aunt was present with her at the time of repeated visits to the family physician or to the office of the defendant.

The court also declined to permit Dr. Rankin, long the family physician of the father and mother, to testify to an examination made by him upon the ground that his testimony was professional and confidential.

In view of the record before us and the conclusion reached, we deem it unnecessary to discuss or pass upon the correctness of the court's ruling as to these matters. An attorney employed by the father appeared for the patient, and the objections to the testimony were made in her behalf.

The mother testified that Dr. Rankin, the family physician, after making an examination of her daughter, stated that she was pregnant. No further visits were made to his office. The father was informed of the result of Dr. Rankin's examination and immediately consulted the defendant. According to his testimony, he disclosed all of the facts to the defendant that were known to him, including the statement of Dr. Rankin that his daughter was pregnant. A contract was then entered into between the father and defendant by the terms of which the latter agreed to examine and treat the daughter for $50, stating, however, that the total expense, including hospital bills, might amount to $150.00. At the time this contract was entered into, the defendant had not seen the patient. In a day or two the aunt and the daughter went to the defendant's office. Before any examination of the patient was made, the aunt paid the defendant the $50 agreed upon. Just what occurred on this occasion in the office of the defendant is not very fully detailed in the record. Only the aunt gave testimony on this point. Some examination was made by the defendant of the patient, and he sent word to the mother to give her quinine. The defendant did not on this occasion, or upon the occasion of any subsequent visit, state to the patient or her aunt the result of his examination. Some examination or treatment was made of her private organs on the occasion of each visit. On the third visit, a rubber tube was inserted, and the patient and her aunt returned to the patient's home. Instructions were given that, when the patient began to have cramps, the rubber tube was to be removed by the mother. In a few hours the patient began to experience pain and cramps, and the rubber tube was removed as directed. Some hours later, another physician, the defendant being absent from the...

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4 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Lentine v. State Board of Health, No. 31168.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 6 Diciembre 1933
    ...Posner v. State Dept. of Health, 108 Conn. 83. Proof does not have to be beyond a reasonable doubt. Sec. 9120, R.S. 1929; State v. Brown, 245 N.W. 348. (5) On review, action of Board of Health will not be disturbed in the absence of an abuse of discretion. State ex rel. Horton v. Clark, 9 S......
  • State v. Brown, No. 41447.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 3 Abril 1934
    ...of Iowa. From an order of the trial court dismissing the plaintiff's petition, the plaintiff appeals. Affirmed. Superseding opinion in 245 N. W. 348.John Fletcher, Atty. Gen., Gerald O. Blake, Asst. Atty. Gen., and D. J. McNamara, Asst. Co. Atty., of Keokuk, for the State.Burrows & Burrows,......
  • Marron v. Lynch, 41469
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 22 Noviembre 1932
    ...controversy between the parties, that would be a sufficient consideration, as already indicated. But the evidence discloses no dispute. [245 N.W. 348] The defendant was asserting no claim of right against his father; [215 Iowa 344] nor asserting that his father was at that time under any le......
  • Marron v. Lynch, No. 41469.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 22 Noviembre 1932
    ...or controversy between the parties, that would be a sufficient consideration as already indicated. But the evidence discloses no dispute. [245 N.W. 348]The defendant was asserting no claim of right against his father; nor asserting that his father was at that time under any legal obligation......
4 cases
  • State ex rel. Lentine v. State Board of Health, No. 31168.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 6 Diciembre 1933
    ...Posner v. State Dept. of Health, 108 Conn. 83. Proof does not have to be beyond a reasonable doubt. Sec. 9120, R.S. 1929; State v. Brown, 245 N.W. 348. (5) On review, action of Board of Health will not be disturbed in the absence of an abuse of discretion. State ex rel. Horton v. Clark, 9 S......
  • State v. Brown, No. 41447.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 3 Abril 1934
    ...of Iowa. From an order of the trial court dismissing the plaintiff's petition, the plaintiff appeals. Affirmed. Superseding opinion in 245 N. W. 348.John Fletcher, Atty. Gen., Gerald O. Blake, Asst. Atty. Gen., and D. J. McNamara, Asst. Co. Atty., of Keokuk, for the State.Burrows & Burrows,......
  • Marron v. Lynch, 41469
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 22 Noviembre 1932
    ...controversy between the parties, that would be a sufficient consideration, as already indicated. But the evidence discloses no dispute. [245 N.W. 348] The defendant was asserting no claim of right against his father; [215 Iowa 344] nor asserting that his father was at that time under any le......
  • Marron v. Lynch, No. 41469.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 22 Noviembre 1932
    ...or controversy between the parties, that would be a sufficient consideration as already indicated. But the evidence discloses no dispute. [245 N.W. 348]The defendant was asserting no claim of right against his father; nor asserting that his father was at that time under any legal obligation......

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