Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Duty To Non-Patient

In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must establish the existence of a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant physician, which the Oklahoma Supreme Court held had not been established when the treating doctor consulted with and relied on a second (sued) doctor. The court concluded:

A medical malpractice action is one of negligence wherein the duty is born from a contractual relationship. In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must prove a physician-patient relationship in order to establish a duty owed by the defendant. A telephone conversation between a non-treating physician and the treating physician concerning the patient, even when the treating physician relies on the non-treating physician's opinion, without more, is insufficient to establish a physician-patient relationship. Based on the record before us, we conclude that Dr. Schlinke did not agree to or undertake to treat Crawford or Shelby and did not form a physician-patient relationship with the plaintiffs as a matter of law.

The court reversed the court of appeals and concluded that the district court had properly granted summary judgment in favor of the non-treating physician. (Mike Frisch)

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