Winn v. Pioneer Med. Grp.Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants alleging claims of medical malpractice and then later filed a claim for elder abuse. At issue is whether the definition of neglect under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, Welf. & Inst. Code, 15600 et seq., applies when a health care provider - delivering care on an outpatient basis - fails to refer an elder patient to a specialist. The court concluded that the Act does not apply unless the defendant health care provider had a substantial caretaking or custodial relationship, involving ongoing responsibility for one or more basic needs, with the elder patient. It is the nature of the elder or dependent adult‘s relationship with the defendant - not the defendant‘s professional standing - that makes the defendant potentially liable for neglect. In this case, because defendants did not have a caretaking or custodial relationship with the decedent, the court found that plaintiffs cannot adequately allege neglect under the Elder Abuse Act. Plaintiffs rely solely on defendants‘ allegedly substandard provision of medical treatment, on an outpatient basis, to an elder. But without more, such an allegation does not support the conclusion that neglect occurred under the Elder Abuse Act.