Magallanes de Valle v. Doctors Medical Center of ModestoAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff brought a medical malpractice action against her personal, treating physician, Golden Valley Health Centers, and Doctors Medical Center of Modesto (“DMC”), after suffering complications and injuries as a result of a hysterectomy procedure performed by her physician at DMC. The complaint alleged a single cause of action, medical negligence, as to all defendants. Potential liability on the part of DMC was premised primarily on an ostensible or apparent agency theory. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of DMC.
The Fifth Appellate District affirmed the trial court’s judgment and held that the trial court property granted DMC’s motion for summary judgment. The court explained that a hospital is liable for a physician’s malpractice when the physician is actually employed or is the ostensible agent of the hospital. Further, unless the patient had some reason to know of the true relationship between the hospital and the physician ostensible agency is readily inferred.
Here, the undisputed facts show that Plaintiff did not rely on an apparent agency relationship between DMC and her treating physician in seeking and receiving surgical care. Rather, Plaintiff herself chose her physician as her treating physician and elected to undergo the procedure at issue under the guidance of her physician and on the condition that it would be performed by her. These undisputed facts conclusively establish that, under the circumstances, Plaintiff reasonably should have known that the physician was not an agent of the hospital; rather, she utilized the hospital’s surgical facilities to provide surgical care to her own patients.