A physician who chooses not to undertake caring for a patient, and instead refers that patient to the patient's regular physician, cannot be held liable for malpractice.
Plaintiff wife went into labor and she and plaintiff husband contacted defendant doctor about seeing the wife. Defendant referred them to her regular physician. Their child died after birth and the wife sustained injuries. Plaintiffs sued defendant and the Trial Court granted him a judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiffs appeal from this ruling.
May a physician who does not undertake to care for a patient be held liable for malpractice, in the event that something happens to that patient?
In affirming the lower court's ruling, the appellate court held that a doctor almost never has a duty to help someone in need of medical care. The idea of imposing an affirmative duty would not be acceptable, and would invade constitutional issues of some doctors.