Brief Fact Summary. Michelle Esquivel (Plaintiff) went to South Central Kansas Regional Medical Center (Defendant) for a free sonogram, which was only to determine the sex of her unborn baby.Â Though an abnormality was discovered, it was not disclosed to Plaintiff by Defendant.Â When her baby died after birth, Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant.Â The court granted summary judgment for Defendant.Â Plaintiff appealed.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. When a provider does not begin to advise or treat the patient regarding any medical condition, illness or disease, a patient-health care provider relationship does not exist.
In Kansas, in order to establish a claim for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must show:(1) the health care provider owes the patient a duty of care and was required to meet or exceed a certain standard of care to protect the patient from injury; (2) the health care provider breached this duty or deviated from the applicable standard of care; (3) the patient was injured; and (4) the injury proximately resulted from the health care provider's breach of the standard of care.View Full Point of Law
Issue. When a provider does not begin to advise or treat the patient regarding any medical condition, illness or disease, does a patient-health care provider relationship exist?
Held. [Judge not stated in casebook excerpt.]Â No.Â When a provider does not begin to advise or treat the patient regarding any medical condition, illness or disease, a patient-health care provider relationship does not exist.Â In this case, Defendant’s specific purpose in performing the sonogram was to determine the gender of her unborn baby.Â Therefore, the provider’s duty was limited to performing the sonogram in a non-negligent manner, and no negligence in the performance of the sonogram is alleged.Â Affirmed.
Discussion. Note in the court’s discussion of the issue, the courts disagree regarding whether there is a duty to notify even in the absence of a physician-patient relationship, even though a physician-patient relationship is usually a prerequisite to a malpractice suit against a doctor.Â Note also that a higher duty of care is always applied once a physician-patient relationship is established.