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The patient is entitled to choose his own physician and he should be permitted to acquiesce in, or refuse to accept, the substitution. The patient is entitled to the services of the particular surgeon with whom he or she contracts. The surgeon, in accepting the patient, is obligated to utilize his personal talents in the performance of the operation to the extent required by the agreement creating the physician-patient relationship. He cannot properly delegate to another the duties which he is required to perform personally. If the surgeon employed merely assists the resident or other physician in performing the operation, it is the resident or other physician who becomes the operating surgeon. If the patient is not informed as to the identity of the operating surgeon, the situation is "ghost surgery."
Edward Grabowski was injured on January 4, 1989, when he slipped and fell on ice, injuring his lower back. Because his symptoms became progressively worse, Grabowski sought treatment from Appellee Matthew R. Quigley, M.D. At the time that Grabowski sought treatment, he had complaints of low back pain radiating into his left leg with numbness and tingling of his left foot, particularly between two toes. Grabowski at this time did not have, however, a drop foot and was not dragging his foot when he walked. Grabowski brought suit against Bailes and Quigley, after being operated on and allegedly injured by said doctors. Grabowski has asserted facts which demonstrate that he consented to an operation to be performed in its entirety by Quigley, not by Bailes, or a combination of Bailes and Quigley. The doctors sought and were granted summary judgment because Grabowski failed to obtain an expert. Grabowski challenged the judgment contending that there were genuine issues of material fact concerning appellees' liability.
Had Grabowski alleged facts which could have established a cause of action for battery or breach of contract?
The court held that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment because under a theory of negligence, Grabowski would have required expert testimony. The court reversed, in part, holding that Grabowski had alleged facts which could have established a cause of action for battery or breach of contract, which the court reasoned was not based upon expert testimony for proof.