a. Girl arrived at hospital in labor. Nurse called doctor for advice and nurse told her that she needed to drive to her own hospital and assured her she would make it. She didn’t make it and had a baby on the way in the car. The baby died. Patient sued the hospital for damages for the injury to her and the death of their unborn child.
b. Doctor claims he told the nurse to tell the patient to call her own doctor and see what he wanted to do.
c. Issue is whether the doctor and nurse have a principal-agent relationship.
d. HELD: two issues:
(1) there is no principal-agent relationship between the doctor and the nurse.
(2) physician has no obligation to practice or render services to whoever requests them.
(a) * Changed now: American Disability Act (ADA) now requires physicians to give treatment. Creates a definition of disability and provides penalties if anyone discriminates against an individual for that disability.
i) Initially created b/c people in wheelchairs couldn’t get across the street and into public buildings. Court’s interpretation has expanded to the point that a doctor’s office is considered a public facility and the doctor has to comply with ADA so that they have to provide appropriate entrances into the building. The doctor’s judgment on the management of the patient is based on whether the doctor is discriminating against the patient under ADA.
ii) If doctor declines to take care of patient b/c of their disability, then they are in violation of the ADA. Doctor has to be very careful as to why he refuses to see/treat a patient.
iii) If patient’s problem is so complex that a more hi-tech treatment center would be better, then the doctor is ok. Doctor will argue that it is in the patient’s best interest to be transferred/referred. If doctor’s care will endanger patient more, then it is in the best interest of the patient to be transferred.
e. Duty of a physician is to the patient. A duty exists to do or refrain from doing things an ordinary prudent physician would do/refrain from doing.
f. EMTALA occurred 10 years after this case: hospitals before the act were looking at the patient’s wallet and determining whether the patient should be transferred out or not.
We have located some similar legal questions and legal question categories. Check out these challenging questions that askquestions about Health Care Law Cases and are similar to In the case Childs v. Weiss here is what happened.. Also, we have included a list of some of our more popular legal question categories. These categories are based on what everyone is asking and answering.