Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Department Determines Doctor Not Responsible for Care of Patient Once Admitted to Hospital

In Perez v. Edwards, the decedent presented to Dr. Edwards with a sore throat. Two days after the office visit, the decedent was admitted to the hospital where he developed a hyperosmolar condition caused by diabetes that led to his death six days later. The plaintiff commenced this action against Dr. Edwards claiming that he failed to diagnose the decedent with diabetes during the initial exam and then failed to properly treat the decedent after he was admitted to the hospital.
The Supreme Court denied Dr. Edwards’ motion for summary judgment, but the First Department reversed. The Court held that there was no support in the record that Dr. Edwards was ever informed of symptoms that could suggest diabetes; rather, these symptoms were only presented to the hospital two days later. Furthermore, the Court held "defendant owed decedent no duty to treat or manage his hyperosmolar state once he was admitted to the hospital." As the Court explained, the doctor was "entitled to rely on the treatment rendered to decedent in this hospital by specialists better equipped to handle decedent’s condition."

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