An Illinois appellate court recently affirmed a summary judgment dismissal of a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawsuit brought on behalf of the Estate of Victor Siwa (“Victor”), who died of heart condition. The medical malpractice and wrongful death complaint alleged that the defendant doctors and hospital failed to warn Victor of the seriousness of his abnormal heart condition, which was discovered during the testing of computed tomography (CT) cardiac scanning equipment at West Suburban Hospital. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants failed to provide adequate follow-up care for Victor, resulting in his death.
The court held that a physician-patient relationship had not established between Dr. Koch, the staff radiologist who administered the CT test, and Victor, then an employee of West Suburban Hospital, and therefore Dr. Koch did not owe a duty of care to Victor. This is because the CT cardiac scan was new technology, and Victor “volunteered” to undergo a scan as part of the “testing” of the new technology and equipment.
Further, there was “no expectation by Victor that he was to receive the results of this exam, in the manner which would be expected by a regular patient, because the exam was not considered to be diagnostic in nature but rather a test of the equipment and software.”
Nonetheless, while examining Victor’s CT results, Dr. Koch determined that Victor’s coronary artery calcification score was abnormally high. Although Dr. Koch did not record his findings in a written report, he testified that on two occasions he spoke directly to Victor and urged him to make an appointment to see a cardiologist.
Under the circumstances, the court held that no physician-patient relationship was established between Dr. Koch and Victor, and thus no duty of care extended from Dr. Koch to Victor. The court affirmed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendants accordingly.