Posted On: May 22, 2011 by Moseley Collins

Sacramento Patient Forced To Sign Hospital Consent Form Under Duress, Part 7 of 9

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this wrongful death case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury action and its proceedings.)

Moreover, the Wheeler court stressed that even a favored arbitration provision in an adhesion contract cannot be enforced unless it was knowingly and voluntarily entered into by both parties. It emphasized, "... notwithstanding the cogency of the policy favoring arbitration and despite frequent judicial utterances that because of that policy every intendment must be indulged in favor of finding an agreement to arbitrate, the policy favoring arbitration cannot displace the necessity for a voluntary agreement to arbitrate." Wheeler, supra, 63 Cal. App. 3d at 356.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Key to this analysis is the requirement that in order to be enforceable, terms in an adhesion contract must be of a type that the parties to such an agreement would reasonably expect to find in the contract. As the Bruni court explained, “ ... a provision contained in [an adhesion] contract cannot be enforced if it does not fall within the reasonable expectations of the weaker or adhering party." Bruni, supra at 1289. The Wheeler court pointed out that reasonable expectations of the hospital patient presented with an admission form are significantly different that those of one in a business or employment setting, stating, "... insofar as awareness is concerned, the atmosphere of the employer's office ... is a far cry from that of a hospital admission room." Id at 363. It further explained, "A patient like Mr. Wheeler realistically has no choice but to seek admission to the hospital to which he has been directed by his physician and to sign the printed forms necessary to gain admission. To posit otherwise would require us to ignore the stress, anxiety, and urgency which ordinarily beset a patient seeking hospital admission." Id at 366.

Additionally, there is a recognized presumption that a patient entering a hospital seeking help from whoever is present at the facility (rather than going to a particular facility at the direction of his or her personal physician for continuing treatment with that physician), particularly one goes to an emergency room, commonly expects and believes that the hospital is the actual provider of care. See Mejia, supra, 99 Cal. App. 4th at 1454-1456 ( "... hospitals are generally deemed to have held themselves out as the provider of services unless they gave the patient contrary notice, and the patient is generally presumed to have looked to the hospital for care unless he or she was treated by his or her personal physician."). (See Part 8 of 9.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.