In O'Brien vs. Cunard Steamship Company (Mass., 1891), the court found that Mrs.
O'Brien had, In fact, given her implied consent to being vaccinated by extending her
arm and accepting the vaccination without objection.
IMPLIED CONSENT BY REASONABLE INFERENCE FROM PATIENT CONDUCT
Individuals who join a line of people also receiving injections do so with apparent
knowledge that an injection will be administered to them. Since they see the
proceedings at the head of the line, they could withdraw from the line at any time up to
the instant of injection. Thus, the person administering the injection may reasonably
infer that the individual's voluntary submission indicates consent.
IMPLIED CONSENT IN AN EMERGENCY
In Jacovach vs. Yocum (Iowa, 1931), the court found implied consent for the removal of
a mangled limb that had been run over in a train accident. The court accepted the
physicians determination that the amputation was necessary to save the life of the
d. Presumed Consent in Certain Emergencies. Another form of implied
consent is presumed consent. In medical emergencies, consent is presumed to exist,
especially when there is an immediate threat to life or health. Some courts have found
implied consent to extensions of surgical procedures beyond the scope specifically
authorized when unexpected conditions arise, especially when an extension or a
modification is necessary to preserve the patient's life or health. These additional
procedures, known as "extensions" or "modifications;" are covered by the extension
doctrine. (Many surgical consent forms include explicit authorization of extensions or
modifications to preserve the patient's life or health. This minimizes disagreements
over the scope of authorization by providing an opportunity for the patient to state
specific extensions or modifications that are expressly forbidden.)
extension doctrine: the doctrine that allows the physician the prerogative to
extend care beyond the scope of express consent in an emergency.