Court Discusses Establishing the Existence of a Treatment Relationship in a Malpractice Case

Doctors that fail to provide their patients with competent care may be deemed liable for medical malpractice. While there are multiple elements a plaintiff seeking damages for medical malpractice must establish, the core element is a doctor-patient relationship. If a plaintiff cannot establish that such a relationship existed, it will most likely result in a dismissal of their claims. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a pro se plaintiff sought damages for what she alleged constituted medical malpractice. If you were hurt by incompetent medical care, it is smart to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer regarding what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff was an employee at the bank when she filed a claim for disability benefits through the bank’s disability program. The defendant nurse was the nurse case manager assigned with administering the plaintiff’s leave. She did not treat the plaintiff, however. The plaintiff and the bank’s insurer later disagreed as to whether she could return to work.

Allegedly, the plaintiff stated she incurred substantial medical costs and lost thirty percent of her salary for three months because she was not allowed to resume her job duties. She then filed a lawsuit against many of the parties associated with handling her disability claim, including the defendant nurse, who she alleged committed medical malpractice. The defendant nurse moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that she failed to state a claim for damages. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the nurse.

Establishing the Existence of a Treatment Relationship

In medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the applicable standard of care, a deviation from the standard on behalf of the defendant, and a causal link between the deviation and the harm ultimately suffered by the plaintiff. Further, in cases where no prior nurse-patient relationship existed, the plaintiff must show that the doctor took some action to establish a treatment relationship.

The court explained that the fact that a party holds a professional license, in and of itself, is not sufficient to create a treating relationship. In the subject case, the court determined that the plaintiff had not established the existence of a nurse-patient relationship between her and the defendant nurse. Specifically, she did not allege that the defendant recommended any course of care or prescribed her any treatment. Rather, each of the evaluations the defendant conducted of the plaintiff were considered independent medical exams for the purposes of determining the extent of her disability, not for the purposes of offering medical care. As such, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims.

Meet with a Trusted Maryland Attorney

Patients rely on their doctors to offer thorough and competent care, and when physicians deviate from the applicable treatment standards, thereby causing harm, they should be held accountable. The seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers of Arfaa Law Group take pride in helping people harmed by incompetent medical care pursue damages for their losses, and if you hire us, we will set forth compelling arguments on your behalf. You can contact us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.






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