A physician (either personally or through an agent), who undertakes to examine or treat a patient and then abandons him, may be held liable for malpractice.
Plaintiff's spouse suffered a heart attack, and the two of them went to the hospital to seek medical treatment. Nurse informed them that hospital did not care for patients under decedent's health care plan. Nurse then told them that she would try to get a doctor. Nurse telephoned defendant doctor, and defendant doctor spoke to decedent by phone. Decedent informed nurse that defendant doctor told him to go home and come back in the morning. Plaintiff asked the nurse to have a doctor examine decedent, but nurse refused. Plaintiff and deceased left and returned home where decedent died before any medical attention could be obtained. The trial court dismissed the complaint against defendant hospital at the end of plaintiff's case and against defendant doctor at the end of the entire case. Plaintiff appeals from the dismissal.
Whether the plaintiff made out a prima facie case of negligence against the defendant at trial.
Yes, the plaintiff made out a prima facie case of negligence against the defendant at trial.
On appeal, the 1st Department reversed the trial court's dismissal. It reversed the judgment because the questions of whether defendants were negligent, whether there was an abandonment on the part of defendant doctor, and whether nurse was acting as an attache of defendant hospital and whether her conduct was negligent were jury questions.