Warren v. DinterAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the judgments of the lower courts that, as a matter of law, a hospitalist owed no duty of care to a patient seeking to be admitted because no physician-patient relationship had been established, holding that there was sufficient evidence in the record to survive a summary judgment motion.
A hospitalist denied a patient admission, and, three days later, the patient died. Plaintiff filed a professional negligence suit against the hospitalist and the hospital. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants on the issue of duty, concluding that the relationship between the patient and the hospitalist did not create a doctor-patient relationship. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed after noting that a physician-patient relationship is not a necessary element of a claim for professional negligence, holding (1) a physician owes a duty of care to a third party when the physician acts in a professional capacity and it is reasonably foreseeable that the third party will rely on the physician's acts and be harmed by a breach of the standard of care; and (2) it was reasonably foreseeable that the patient in this case would rely on the hospitalist's acts and be harmed by a breach of the standard of care.