Negligence: On-Call Physician’s Refusal to See Patient Does Not Obviate Doctor/Patient Relationship

December 1, 2012 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​​An on-call physician who refused to see a patient who was later discharged from the hospital on the orders of the admitting hospitalist may still have an established doctor/patient relationship, according to a Georgia Court of Appeals opinion. In so ruling, the court reversed a trial court's decision to grant a physician's motion for summary judgment in a medical malpractice and wrongful-death case, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

The patient visited the hospital's emergency room three times over a three-day period, complaining about a variety of ailments. A hospitalist admitted the patient with the diagnosis of nausea, vomiting, and constipation. The next morning, the hospitalist visited the patient, noted that her symptoms had subsided, and issued a discharge order for 3 p.m. that afternoon. The hospitalist did not...

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