The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/brain injury case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
In Burciaga, the Court first determined that an emergency situation, as envisioned by § 2395, existed, as the newborn was in respiratory distress and in need of emergent care. Burciaga, supra, at 714. Next, the Court stated that, unlike other Good Samaritan statutes, California’s Good Samaritan Law applies to emergencies both within and without a hospital. Burciaga, supra, at 715-716. Further, §§ 2395 and 2396 are not limit[ed] to only those physicians treating patients outside the scope of the physicians’ specialties. Burciaga, supra, at 716. The heart of the application of the Good Samaritan statutes is the inquiry whether a duty of professional care pre-existed the emergency. Burciaga, supra, at 716. The Court concluded that defendant pediatrician owed no duty to the plaintiff newborn as he was not the pediatrician’s patient, and his obstetrician did not regularly refer patients to defendant pediatrician.
In the instant case, Dr. White was called by plaintiff Amy Brown’s obstetrician to emergently treat her following delivery. At that time, Amy Brown was blue and not breathing, and in obvious respiratory distress. As such, an emergency existed. Further, plaintiff Amy Brown was not Dr. White’s patient, nor had he ever treated her before. Dr. White was only available to treat plaintiff Amy Brown because he was present at XYZ Hospital treating his own patients. Thus, Dr. White’s treatment of plaintiff Amy Brown falls squarely within the bounds of the Good Samaritan Defense. As such, Dr. White cannot be liable for plaintiffs’ damages.
Accordingly, defendant Stuart White, M.D., is entitled to summary judgment.
The care and treatment rendered by defendant Stuart White, M.D. to minor plaintiff Amy Brown, at all times, complied with the applicable standard of care. Moreover, Stuart White, M.D.’s care in no way caused, or contributed to, any of plaintiff’s alleged injuries or damages. In addition, Stuart White, M.D. cannot be liable for plaintiff’s damages pursuant to California’s Good Samaritan Law, California Business & Professions Code § 2395 and § 2396. For these reasons, it is respectfully submitted that summary judgment be entered in favor of defendant Stuart White, M.D. and against plaintiffs.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.