Ophthalmologists generally provide routine care, but they are expected to be able to diagnose and treat serious eye issues as well. As such, if they fail to diagnose an illness in a timely manner, it can lead to permanent vision issues and may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. As with any malpractice matter, though, a plaintiff must prove each element of the underlying claim, including the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. Recently, a New York court discussed what evidence a plaintiff must produce to establish the existence of a patient-physician relationship in a matter arising out of alleged ophthalmology malpractice. If you were harmed by a negligent eye doctor, it is smart to speak to a Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking damages.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
Reportedly, the plaintiff visited a hospital due to eye issues and was sent to the defendant practice, where she was seen by the defendant ophthalmologist, who diagnosed her with optic neuritis, among other things. She was given eye drops and advised to follow up with the hospital. At a later visit with the defendant ophthalmologist, it was recommended that she obtain an evaluation with the defendant specialist.
Allegedly, a receptionist at the defendant practice called and scheduled an appointment with the defendant specialist, which the plaintiff later rescheduled. Prior to the appointment, however, she was diagnosed with bilateral acute retinal necrosis and hospitalized for seventeen days. The defendant specialist moved for summary judgment, arguing in part that he had no patient-doctor relationship with the plaintiff. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading