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When a doctor-patient relationship exists

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2019 | Medical Malpractice

You may have a designated physician in New Mexico who you visit any time you have a medical issue, whether that doctor is assigned by your insurance or you have chosen him or her based on your own personal preference. Or, you may not have a regular doctor, and you simply see whoever is available at the clinic or hospital where you receive medical care. Regardless, if a doctor makes a mistake that causes you harm, one of the components of a malpractice claim is establishing that you were legally under that doctor’s care.

At Sutten Law Group, LLC, we often assist clients in determining whether the doctor-patient relationship exists and they may have the right to make a medical malpractice claim.

The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics defines exactly what elements are involved in a patient-physician relationship. The relationship typically begins by mutual consent when the doctor first serves your medical needs. It could also begin without your consent if you have designated an agent to speak on your behalf through an advance health care directive.

In some cases, though, you may enter into a patient-doctor relationship without you or your agent providing consent:

  • You receive emergency care, or your doctor requests that another doctor provide care (this type of case implies your agreement to the relationship)
  • A prisoner receives medically appropriate care under court order
  • You receive an independent medical examination

In each of these situations, the relationship is limited. In every case, though, the relationship mandates that the doctor must apply sound medical judgment on your behalf.

More information about medical malpractice lawsuits is available on our webpage.