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New York Court Discusses Proof Needed to Establish a Doctor-Patient Relationship

There are several elements a person harmed by medical malpractice must prove to recover damages from the care provider that caused his or her harm. First, and perhaps most importantly, the injured party must show that he or she was a patient of the doctor that rendered the inadequate care. While in most cases it is easy to establish a doctor-patient relationship, in some cases, it is not immediately clear whether a doctor-patient relationship exists. The Supreme Court of New York recently analyzed whether a plaintiff sufficiently established a doctor-patient relationship in a case where the defendant doctor owned the orthopedic practice where the plaintiff was treated but did not provide direct care to the plaintiff. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to inadequate orthopedic care you should meet with a trusted Rochester orthopedic malpractice attorney regarding what damages, you may be able to recover from the parties that caused your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the minor plaintiff fell off of his bicycle and broke his left arm in June 2015. The plaintiff’s mother took him to the emergency room of a nearby hospital following his fall. The hospital staff did not place a cast on the plaintiff’s arm but provided him with a sling and directed his mother to take him to an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible. On July 1, 2015, the plaintiff’s mother took the plaintiff to the defendant orthopedic practice which was owned by the defendant doctor.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was examined by the defendant physician assistant and placed in a cast. Unfortunately, the plaintiff’s arm was improperly casted, which resulted in the arm healing in an undesirable position and causing a decreased range of motion and cosmetic deformities. The plaintiff and his mother subsequently filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. The defendant doctor filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that no doctor-patient relationship existed between him and the plaintiff.

Establishing a Doctor-Patient Relationship

To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must establish the existence of a physician-patient relationship. Under New York law, a doctor can be held liable for negligently performed services provided by a physician’s assistant he or she employs. Additionally, a person that owns a portion of a professional service corporation may be held personally liable for any negligent act committed by a person under his or her direct supervision.

In the subject case, the court noted that it was undisputed that the defendant physician assistant was employed by the defendant orthopedic practice, not by the defendant doctor. Additionally, the defendant doctor did not work at the defendant orthopedic practice on the day the plaintiff was treated and did not supervise the defendant physician assistant during his treatment of the plaintiff. As such, the court found that there was insufficient evidence to hold the defendant doctor liable and granted summary judgment on his behalf.

Meet with a Skilled Rochester Orthopedic Malpractice Attorney Regarding Your Harm

If you sustained injuries due to negligent care rendered by an orthopedic doctor you should meet with a skilled Rochester orthopedic malpractice attorney to discuss the facts surrounding your harm and what compensation you may be owed. The trusted orthopedic malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will develop persuasive arguments to help you in the pursuit of the full amount of compensation you may be owed. You can reach us via our online form or at  833-200-2000 to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.


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