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Physician Patient Relationship Cases Summarized By Medical Malpractice Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Physician Patient Relationship Cases

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This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Physician Patient Relationship. For more information on medical malpractice see the pages on Wikipedia. 

Physician Patient Relationship-Cases

2014—Simpson v. Roberts, 287 Va. 34, 752 S.E.2d 801.

Doctor performs amniocentesis and severely injures the fetus. Jury verdict of $7 million is reduced to the cap. Physician-patient relationship held to exist between doctor and fetus.

2008 Fruiterman v. Granata, 276 Va. 629, 668 S.E.2d 127, 668 S.E.2d 127.

In this wrongful birth action father sued for medical malpractice. Father, however, was not patient and therefore no malpractice claim was recognizable since no physician patient relationship existed.

2006 Harris v. Kreutzer, 271 Va. 188, 624 S.E.2d 24.

Plaintiff in this case filed medical malpractice action against health care provider who performed defense medical exam pursuant to Rule 4:10 in prior litigation. Court held that medical malpractice action against such examiner could be maintained and that plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts to withstand demurrer, in that plaintiff alleged what the standard of care was, breach of that standard, and resulting damages. Plaintiff also alleged claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress which was not properly pleaded. Plaintiff alleged that defendant verbally abused her, raised his voice, caused her to break down in tears, stated that she was putting on a show, and accused her of being a faker and a malingerer. That conduct, even if true, was not sufficient to rise to the level of outrageous behavior. Plaintiff further alleged resulting nightmares, difficulty sleeping, extreme loss of self-esteem, and depression. That did not rise to the level of severe emotional distress as required by the case law.

2001 Didato v. Strehler, 262 Va. 617, 554 S.E.2d 42.

Medical malpractice action brought by parents claiming that pediatric group had not informed them of sickle cell trait in second child and as a result, they conceived and gave birth to a third child who in fact had sickle cell trait. Plaintiffs maintained that they retained pediatric service for purposes of providing family care and that pediatric service agreed to provide that care and as such, a physician/patient relationship was found to exist under these set of facts. In addition, one who assumes to act, even though gratuitously may, thereby, become subject to the duty of acting carefully if he acts at all. Even though court did not find there to be any special relationship here between parents and pediatrician, the pediatrician had assumed to act and therefore, was obliged to act carefully and could be sued for negligence for failing to have informed parents of sickle cell trait in second child.

2001 Prosise v. Foster, 261 Va. 417, 544 S.E.2d 331.

Wrongful death action brought on behalf of estate of minor decedent. Minor was treated by two residents in teaching hospital. Plaintiff sued on-call physician. On-call physician never treated child and residents had no duty of care to the on-call physician. Since residents were not authorized to treat, there was no physician patient relationship between the residents and the minor decedent. There likewise was no physician/patient relationship with the on-call physician since he never saw the patient. Residents, by statute, are responsible and accountable to licensed staff members but are not subject to further restrictions under Virginia Code. This is not sufficient to create a physician patient relationship between the on-call physician in teaching hospital and patient who is not otherwise seen or treated by that attending physician. Case dismissed for this reason.

1997 Fairfax Hospital v. Curtis, 254 Va. 437, 492 S.E.2d 642

Plaintiff has basis for malpractice claim for defendant’s negligence in voluntarily disseminating confidential information in her medical records, which was not authorized by proper finding that her medical condition was an issue in pending litigation.

1997 Archambault v. Roller, 254 Va. 210, 491 S.E.2d 729.

Attending physician who had not been joined as defendant in this malpractice action was deposed. Prior to deposition she disclosed to her counsel information about the course of treatment. This was not a violation of Code § 8.01-399(f).

1992 Pierce v. Caday, 244 Va. 285, 422 S.E.2d 371.

Patient alleges that physician’s employee violated confidentiality. Supreme Court assumes, without deciding as part of this case, that cause of action exists in Virginia in favor of patient against physician for disclosure of confidential information.<

1988 Richman v. National Health Labs., 235 Va. 353, 367 S.E.2d 508.

Clinical laboratory is not licensed health care provider. Lab is not licensed by state and, therefore, no physician patient relationship.<

1977 Lyons v. Grether, 218 Va. 630, 239 S.E.2d 103.

Whether physician patient relationship is created is question of fact, turning upon determination of whether patient entrusted his treatment to physician and whether physician accepted case. Here plaintiff had made appointment with defendant for treatment of vaginal infection. This was sufficient to state essential elements of physician-patient relationship.

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Physician Patient Relationship Cases Summarized By Medical Malpractice Attorney

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