jured. * * * It may be assumed that the injurious result is never designed or intended, but it has frequently been held that, if such result is the natural or reasonably to be expected consequence of conditions voluntarily assumed, the result may be an accident, but the producing means cannot be called accidental. * * * It has, however, also been held that, where the injurious result is caused by an act voluntarily performed by the party injured, the means cannot be called accidental. * * * It is plainly true, and all the cases agree, that in construing this clause, so long found in accident insurance policies, it is the cause and not the consequence that must be regarded in fixing liability; but we are unable to perceive any reason why one causal element may not be found in the peculiarities, unknown to the sufferer, of his own body.
It is to be remembered that the policy contains no exception against men with misplaced arteries or other corporeal peculiarities, and the crucial question is not changed by Brand's singular con-figuration; the inquiry still is: What is meant by the word "accidental," and will its definition cover this incident? * * * that the word must be taken in the usage of the average man and not of the scientist has recently been enforced by Cardozo, J., in Lewis v. Ocean. etc.. Co.. 224 N. Y. at 20, 120 N. F. 56. For this case the important words of the authoritative definition of "accidental" are that—"If in tile act which precedes the injury something unforeseen, unexpected, unusual occurs, which produces the injury. then the injury has resulted through accidental means."
The thing that was unexpected and unusual in this instance was the perhaps congenital misplacement of an artery. We think that this element of the act of sewing up the surgeon's cut was, within the definition, as truly accidental as would have been the case had the surgeon's needle broken. * * *
Judgment affirmed, with costs.23
23 The plaintiff while recovering from an operation involuntarily reached to catch a falling table causing a blood clot in his arm necessitating amputation. It was held that the question as to whether this was an "accidental means" was properly submitted to the jury. Curry v. Federal Life Ins. Co. (1926) 221 Mo. 626, 287 S. W. 1053.
Death resulting from novocaine administered to the tonsils as an anaesthetic for an operation is death by "accidental means." Taylor v. New York Life Ins. Co. (1929) 176 Minn. 171, 222 N. W. 912, 60 A. L. R. 959; Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Dodge (1926) 11 Fed. (2d) 486, 59 A. L. R. 1290.
Death sometimes comes to one being operated upon because of hypersusceptibility to anaesthesia. Is such a death accidental? These cases have given great difficulty to the courts. See the discussion of this problem in the Note (1930) 78 U. of Pa. L. Rev. 762.
The insured, after an operation for appendicitis, slipped from his pillow, dying as a result. It was held this was a death by accidental means. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Meldrim (1919) 24 Ga. App. 487, 101 S. E. 305, Comment (1920) 18 Mich. L. Rev. 428. Death from an operation for kidney stones is not an accident. Pope v. Prudential Ins. Co. (1928) 29 Fed. (2d) 185. But there is conflict as to whether death resulting from a mishap following an operation is compensable under an accident policy. See e.g. Caldwell v. Travelers Ins. Co. (1924)