The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, Chief Judge.
On May 13, 1960, the plaintiffs filed their complaint against
the defendant in which the plaintiff, Georgia J. Redding, seeks
judgment against the defendant in the sum of $340,000 and the
plaintiff, Silas Redding, Jr., seeks judgment against the
defendant in the sum of $170,000. The suit was commenced under
the Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), 2401(b) and 2674.
Jurisdiction is granted by 28 U.S.C. § 1346 (1960 Supp.).
This opinion, containing the findings of fact and conclusions
of law, is filed in lieu of formal findings of fact and
conclusions of law, separately stated. Rule 52(a), Fed.R.Civ.P.,
The plaintiffs, husband and wife, are citizens of the State of
Arkansas, but on dates material herein were residing in Lawton,
On and prior to November 3, 1959, the plaintiff, Silas Redding,
Jr., was serving as enlisted personnel with the rank of Sergeant
in the United States Army stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His
wife, the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding, was and is a dependent
and entitled to receive medical care in the medical facilities of
the United States Army.
In numbered paragraphs V and VI of the complaint the plaintiffs
"That on or about November 3, 1959, the plaintiff
Georgia J. Redding was admitted to the United States
Army Hospital at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for the purpose
of a vaginal hysterectomy, the same being scheduled
for November 4, 1959, and, on the morning of November
4, 1959, she was taken to surgery at said hospital
and a vaginal hysterectomy, anterior and posterior
repair was performed and during the course of the
operation she was transfused 1,000 cc's of B-positive
blood by the physicians and attendants, who were
officers, or employees of the United States of
America, and were acting in the scope of their
office, or employment, and they impliedly agreed to
exercise and use a reasonable degree in the care and
treatment of the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding.
"That the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding had blood
type O-positive at the time of said operation and
this condition should have been discovered and known
by said officers and employees prior to the
administering of the B-positive blood, as above
outlined, which blood was administered in the
operating room while the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding
was under anaesthesia, and such act of administering
the incorrect type of blood was an act of negligence
In paragraph numbered VII the plaintiffs alleged:
"That as a proximate result of the negligent and
careless act of administering the B-positive blood to
the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding, instead of the
O-positive, the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding has
suffered * * * [It does not seem necessary to set
forth a detailed description of the injuries
allegedly suffered by the plaintiff, Mrs.
Redding.] * * * which said careless and negligent act
and such conditions created, or caused thereby, have
caused the plaintiff Georgia J. Redding to suffer
permanent damage and injury to her body, for all of
which she should be compensated in the sum of
$340,000; and, as a proximate result of said
carelessness and negligence, the plaintiff Silas
Redding, Jr., has been caused to suffer mental
anguish and will be caused to suffer mental anguish
in the future; has been caused to expend sums of
money for the care and maintenance of his wife, and
will be caused to expend sums of money for the care
and maintenance of his wife in the future * * * has
been caused to expend sums of money for the care of
his and his wife's children, whose ages are 14, 5, 4,
3 and 1 years, which care would have been given by
the mother of said children, the plaintiff Georgia J.
Redding had she not been injured by said careless and
negligent acts; and has caused him to lose the
companionship, society and consortium of his wife,
for which he should be compensated in the sum of
On July 18, 1960, the defendant filed its answer in which the
defendant admitted that the cause of action arises under the
Federal Tort Claims Act and that jurisdiction is granted by Title
28, U.S.C. § 1346(b), as amended.
Further answering, the defendant, in numbered paragraph 4 of
its answer, stated:
"It admits that Georgia J. Redding was admitted to
the U.S. Army Hospital at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for
the purpose of a vaginal hysterectomy as alleged in
Paragraph 5, and that during the course of the
operation she was transfused 1,000 cc of `Group B, Rh
positive' blood by the surgeon, who was an officer of
the Medical Corps, United States Army, but it denies
all other allegations of said Paragraph 5."
The defendant also admitted that plaintiff, Siles Redding at
all times material was a Sergeant in the United States Army, and
that his wife, plaintiff Georgia J. Redding, was a dependent and
entitled to receive medical care at the medical facilities of the
United States Army, but denied the other allegations in the
The case was tried to the court on June 26 and 27, 1961. At the
conclusion of the trial, the court requested the parties to
submit memorandum briefs in support of their respective
contentions together with a summary of the facts which they
contend are established by the testimony. The briefs and summary
of facts have been received and considered, along with the
pleadings, all the testimony and the exhibits. The case is now
ready for final disposition.
On November 3, 1959, the plaintiff, Sergeant Redding, had been
stationed at Fort Sill, near Lawton, Oklahoma, for several
On March 12, 1959, the plaintiff, Georgia J. Redding, was
pregnant and was receiving prenatal treatment and care from
Captain Gerald M. Platock, a member of the Medical Corps of the
United States Army, stationed at Fort Sill and assigned to the
Station Hospital, Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. Prior to
that pregnancy, Mrs. Redding had given birth to six children and
had had two miscarriages. During this treatment and care, Captain
Platock, on March 11, 1959, caused her blood to be typed, and the
report filed March 12, 1959, showed her blood to be Group O,
In June 1959 the baby was born without any complications.
Following her recovery from the birth of the child, Captain
Platock scheduled a vaginal hysterectomy for November 4, 1959. In
his narrative summary attached to his deposition, he stated:
"Post-partum check revealed a marked
cysto-rectocele and a uterine prolapse. Vaginal
hysterectomy was contemplated and scheduled for the
4th of November 59. She has been having trouble with
stress, urge incontinence and a heaviness in the
pelvis over the past six years which gradually seemed
to become worse. When admitted to the hospital on
November 3 she was seen and examined. Blood pressure
was 132/80 pulse 72 temperature 98 weight 122 1/2.
"Physical examination revealed a well-developed
well-nourished white female whose only positive
findings other than the Gyn findings previously noted
was a grade 2 systolic murmur at the apex. She had a
regular sinus rhythm and PMI was at the
mid-clavicular line. The murmur did not radiate and
she had no history of shortness of breath,
palpitation, rheumatic fever or any other cardiac
difficulties. Past history was essentially negative
except that she had an appendectomy at the age 14.
She was taken to surgery on the morning of November 4
where a vaginal hysterectomy, anterior and posterior
repair was performed. She had average blood loss and
was transfused 1000 cc's of B-positive blood."
When she was admitted to the hospital on November 3, Captain
Platock requested that her blood be typed and three bottles, each
containing 500 cc's of blood, be ready for use during the
operation the next morning, November 4, 1959. Private Robert
Chagnot drew the required amount of blood from the patient, Mrs.
Redding, and it was typed and crossmatched by Sp-4 Emmitt E.
Brown on the same date, November 3, 1959. At that time the Chief
of the Laboratory Service, Captain Rex. D. Couch, was not
present. The bottles containing the blood which were transferred
from the laboratory to the operating room were each labeled
showing the contents to be type B-positive. During the operation
Captain Platock and his assistant transfused 1000 cc's from
bottles Nos. 241 and 281.
Captain Platock in his summary further stated:
"Previously when she was admitted to the hospital
she was typed as B-positive as previously mentioned.
She was given 1000 cc's of B-positive blood while in
the operating room under anesthesia. Her urinary
output at this time still remained negligible.
Medical consultation has been sought and our plan is
to evacuate the patient to Brooke for the possibility
of placing her on artificial kidney. Her blood
pressure has continued to drop and is now 70/50 with
a pulse of 132. She is markedly jaundiced. Her
condition at this time is poor.
The operation had been started at approximately 9 a.m.,
November 4, and concluded at noon.
Captain Rex D. Couch, the Chief of the Laboratory Service, was
called by Captain Platock at approximately 2 a.m., November 5,
when her condition became alarming.
In the report to his Commanding Officer, dated November 10,
1959, Captain Couch, after stating that Sp-4 Emmitt E. Brown had
on Tuesday, November 3, 1959, typed and cross-matched the
patient's blood as Group B, Rh-positive, and that all three
bottles which had been taken from the blood bank refrigerator
were determined by Sp-4 Emmitt E. Brown to be compatible with the
blood of the patient, further stated:
"Almost immediately after this call, I received a
call from Pfc John Laverty, the Laboratory CQ, who
stated that he could not verify with certainty that
the patient's blood was Group B, Rh positive.
"I then went to the Laboratory, where Pfc Laverty
and I rechecked the blood group and Rh type of the
patient. On testing the specimen a number of times we
felt that the patient was either Group O, Rh positive
or a very weak Group B, Rh positive. I then asked Pfc
Laverty to call Sp-4 Brown to come to the Laboratory.
When Brown arrived at the Laboratory, he typed the
patient's blood a number of times and suspected that
it was Group O, Rh positive. He then typed and
back-typed (using the patient's serum with cells of
known type) the blood and concluded that the
patient's blood type was Group O, Rh positive, a
conclusion in which I concurred.
"I then called the nurse in charge of Ward 3, and
asked her to send the bottle #282 back to the
laboratory. On re-crossmatching all three units of
blood in question, it was found that Numbers 241 and
281 were incompatible, but that No. 282 still
appeared to be compatible.
"At about 1030 hours on 5 November 1959 a request
for 1000 ml of whole blood was received for Mrs.
Redding. Units No. 287 and 288 (both Group O, Rh
positive) were crossmatched with the patient's blood
and the major crossmatch with both units was
There was no testimony that specimens from another patient were
mistaken for those of Mrs. Redding.
Pfc. John J. Laverty, the technician who was on duty during the
night of November 4 and early morning of November 5, when Mrs.
Redding became critically ill, immediately typed and
cross-matched her blood using the standard procedure and found
the blood to be Group O, Rh-positive.
Prior to entering the Army, Pfc. Laverty had graduated from
college with a chemistry major, and in addition, before being
assigned as a technician, had received training as a medic and
laboratory technician in the Army School at Fort Sam Houston.
Dr. Platock, in answer to an interrogatory as to whether he was
personally acquainted with the fact that Mrs. Redding was given
the wrong type of blood, stated:
"She was O positive and was given B positive
All of the witnesses testified that she was given Group B,
Rh-positive, when her blood group was and is Group O,
Rh-positive. All of the witnesses further agreed that the type or
group of blood of a person does not change.
When it was definitely ascertained that Mrs. Redding had been
given Group B, Rh-positive, instead of Group O, Rh-positive,
Captain Platock called Dr. Jack N. Freyhof of the Brooke General
Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and received instructions
from Dr. Freyhof as to the treatment of the patient until she
could be transferred to Brooke General Hospital. Accordingly, the
treatment recommended by Dr. Freyhof was administered, and on
November 6 she was transferred by plane to the Brooke General
Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The report of Captain Platock
which accompanied her to Brooke, and upon which she was admitted,
states under the word "Diagnosis":
"Therapeutic misadventure, transfusion with
incompatible blood with resulting renal failure.
(Vaginal hysterectomy, performed this hospital 4 Nov.
Under the phrase "Operations and Special Therapeutic