Doctors are not automatically required to treat or provide care to everyone they meet. For there to be a duty of a doctor or other medical professional to provide care to a patient, there must exist a voluntary agreement between doctor and patient. The agreement establishes the doctor-patient relationship, and from that point forward the doctor owes a duty of care to the patient. Under certain circumstances, however, a doctor may have an obligation to provide treatment even if there is no agreement. In cases where a person is unconscious, a doctor-patient relationship is formed when the patient is brought to the doctor for services. In other exceptions, hospitals accepting certain federal funds may be required to care for indigent patients, and hospital emergency rooms may be required to care for anyone in a life-threatening condition.
OTHER MEDICAL MALPRACTICE FOCUS AREAS
Birth injury occurs during the birthing process and can damage nerves, break bones, or injure the brain.
Cerebral palsy is a permanent movement disorder that can be caused by injury to a child's brain during the birthing process.
Complications after surgery can be from a surgeon's negligent conduct in surgery.
A missed diagnosis often means a delay in proper treatment, often with devastating consequences, for example, medical cancer cases.
When a healthcare provider, in acting or failing to act, does not comply with the standard of practice in medicine.
Many medical malpractice claims occur because of procedures or treatment given to patients in hospitals.
A doctor must in advance adequately inform a patient of diagnosis, nature and purpose of treatment, and benefits and risks of procedures.
ESTABLISHING A DUTY OF MEDICAL CARE
Doctors and healthcare providers are not automatically required to treat or provide care to everyone they meet.