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Law School Case Brief

COVARRUBIAS v. KADY - D046529, 2006 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2085 (Mar. 15, 2006)

Rule:

"The 'test for determination of the existence of an emergency is objective: whether the undisputed facts establish the existence of an exigency of "so pressing a character that some kind of action must be taken." ' . . . 'Absent a duty of professional care preexisting the emergency, the Good Samaritan law is applicable to protect a physician who renders emergency assistance in a hospital to the patient of another doctor.

Facts:

A complaint for malpractice was filed by the parents of the minor Plaintiff against Sharp Coronado Hospital and his attending physician. Defendant Kady was subsequently impleaded because he was one of the doctors who exerted resuscitative efforts when the Plaintiff experienced distress after his delivery. Defendant moved for summary judgment and argued that he was just responding to an emergency and is therefore immune from liability under the Good Samaritan statute. The trial court granted his motion, and the Plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal.

Issue:

Was the defendant physician immune from liability under California's Good Samaritan statute?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

There is no dispute  that the Plaintiff’s condition was an emergency within the meaning of the Good Samaritan statute. Thus, Defendant Kady is immune from liability for emergency care he provided to the plaintiff shortly after his birth following a Cesarean section performed on his mother. The appellate court affirmed the order granting the Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

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