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Bryant v. Bakshandeh - 226 Cal. App. 3d 1241, 277 Cal. Rptr. 379 (1991)

Rule:

A physician who renders emergency aid in a hospital is afforded the immunity of the Good Samaritan statutes unless a specific factual situation is not within the ambit of the legislative intent of encouraging emergency medical care by doctors who have no legal duty to treat a patient. 

Facts:

S.B., the infant son of plaintiffs Robert and Virginia Bryant, died from an infection resulting from procedures carried out in preparing him for surgery. The Bryants filed an action in California state court for wrongful death, negligence, and failure to inform adequately regarding possible complications against defendants Cedars Sinai Medical Center ("Cedars"), doctors Stephen Gans and Edward Austin ("treating physicians"), and a urologist, Kiumars Bakshandeh, who had been called by the treating physicians for assistance when they had difficulty in inserting a catheter in S.B.'s urethra. Bakshandeh was unable to insert the catheter and the operation was postponed. In his medical reports, Bakshandeh stated that he performed the procedures on S.B.'s on an emergency basis. The trial court granted Bakshandeh's motion for summary judgment on the ground that he was immune from liability under the "Good Samaritan" statutes. The Bryants appealed.

Issue:

Did the trial court err in granting Bakshandeh's motion for summary judgment based upon his immunity from liability under the provisions of the Good Samaritan laws?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The appellate court reversed the grant of summary judgment to Bakshandeh in the Bryants' action for the wrongful death of S.B., their infant son. The court ruled that it was up to the trier of fact to determine whether Bakshandeh had a reasonable, good faith belief that he was answering an emergency when he performed the requested procedures on S.B. That issue of fact rendered summary judgment inappropriate.

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