Specifically, two-doctor couples were more likely to delay having children and to feel that their work did not leave enough time for a family life.For surgeons married to other surgeons, the picture was even grimmer.The legal definition of a patient and the corresponding duties of the physician have been debated in state courts for over a century, and many aspects of the question are still being resolved. In 1901, the Supreme Court of Indiana heard the tragic case of Charlotte Burk . Eddingfield was the local general practitioner and Burk’s family physician, but when Burk suffered complications during childbirth, her husband sent a messenger to Dr. In this case, the court decided that a patient-physician relationship had been established when the patient saw Dr. Weis did not have an established relationship with Daisy Childs, 7 months pregnant, who presented to the emergency room, bleeding and with labor pains . In Oregon, an on-call neurosurgeon was consulted by an ER doctor who suspected a severe neurological disease was causing a patient’s low back pain .This article will explore a number of important legal cases that have helped to define the patient-physician relationship generally, as well as some key exceptions to the general rule. Budge at the first visit because it is “well settled that a physician or surgeon, upon undertaking an operation or other case, is under the duty, in the absence of an agreement limiting the service, of continuing his attention…so long as the case requires attention” . The physician had never seen or treated Daisy Childs. Weis told the patient she needed to go to her own physician in Dallas. The court stated that “a physician is not to be held liable for arbitrarily refusing to respond to a call of a person even urgently in need of medical…assistance provided that the relation of physician and patient does not exist” . The neurosurgeon examined the patient and recommended that she be admitted but said that surgery was not needed .A patient-physician relationship was formed because the physician took an affirmative action in rendering an opinion on the course of the patient’s care.As the cases above demonstrate, states vary in how they define a patient-physician relationship.Of those, half had spouses or partners who did not work outside the home.
From day one, medical students are taught that their primary obligation is to patients. Eddingfield was not considered obligated to provide care for Ms. Budge refused to treat it because the patient had unpaid bills.The patient sued the neurosurgeon who was originally consulted for damages but he defended that he owed her no duty because a patient-physician relationship had not been established.The court held that “in the absence of an express agreement by the physician to treat a patient, a physician’s assent to a physician-patient relationship can be inferred when the physician takes an affirmative action with regard to the care of the patient” .(Exceptions are made when emergency care is needed and when refusal to treat is based on discrimination). Tavera was the physician responsible for authorizing admissions when the patient, a member of the Humana HMO, went to the HMO-approved hospital and complained of a 3-day headache, the severity of which fluctuated with blood pressure .However, a patient-physician relationship is generally formed when a physician affirmatively acts in a patient’s case by examining, diagnosing, treating, or agreeing to do so . The patient was sent home and suffered a stroke several hours later . Tavera was sued, he argued there was no established patient-physician relationship because he had never seen the patient .