NY Court Says Physician Was Not Duty-Bound to Assess Treatments Ordered by Other Physicians

July 27, 2012 | Physician Practice News

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A primary care physician does not have a duty to supervise and override the treatment ordered by another physician, ruled a New York state appeals court on June 5, 2012. The plaintiff alleged that the primary care physician should have overridden a treatment plan prescribed by the patient’s obstetricians after they discovered a malignant abdominal mass while examining the patient. The court of appeals concluded that a physician’s duty is circumscribed by the medical functions that the physician undertakes. The patient was three months pregnant and already receiving obstetrical care from an obstetrics group when she first saw the primary care physician in August 2005. A member of the obstetrical group detected an abdominal mass six weeks later, and a sonogram indicated that the mass was benign fibrolipoma. A copy of the sonogram report was sent to the primary care physician. The obstetrical providers decided to wait and see how the symptoms progressed.

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