Later this year, California Supreme Court will hear a case that could have far-reaching consequences on medical malpractice lawsuits in the state. In King v. CompPartners, the Supreme Court will review whether workers’ compensation review boards may be sued for medical malpractice. Many times the review boards, which are made up of physicians, make decisions that are critical to patients’ health. Where these decisions are made erroneously or negligently, and a patient is harmed, advocates believe that the patient should be able to bring a case for medical malpractice. Critics argue that because no physician patient relationship exists, that a claim for medical malpractice is not viable.
In King, the plaintiff suffered on the job injuries. As part of his treatment he was prescribed anti-anxiety medication. His company’s workers compensation insurance carrier then hired a company to review the medical treatment provided to injured workers, and one of the reviewers decided to discontinue the plaintiff’s medications without informing him of the side effects. After abruptly ceasing the medication, the plaintiff suffered numerous seizures. The 4th District Court of Appeals determined that the doctor on the board owed the patient a duty of care, and that a doctor-patient relationship exists between utilization reviewers and injured workers. The California Medical Association supports the plaintiff’s side in this case, arguing that these boards need to meet a reasonable standard of care towards worker’s compensation patients, and that they should be held accountable when the interfere with a prescribed course of treatment which then harms a patient.
For more information or if you believe that you have suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, please contact the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson LLP for an immediate consultation.