Delaware Handbook: Physician-Patient Relationship

WHEN DOES THE PHYSICIAN-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP BEGIN? Typically, the physician-patient relationship is established when the physician and patient meet in a treatment setting and the physician examines the patient, gives medical advice, and/or begins to render treatment. Treatment may occur in the physician’s office, in a clinic, in the hospital, or anywhere that a consensual relationship is initiated. It can include consults and phone or email contact with other physicians or with the patient. Some physicians mistakenly believe that the relationship does not begin until after the first face-to-face visit when the physician decides whether or not to accept the patient he or she has just examined. Physicians should assume that the relationship begins at the time of the first encounter (in whatever form that encounter takes), and they must institute formal termination procedures if, after that encounter, they do not want to see the patient again. Case Precedent There is no one case th...
News & Knowledge