Sending a Life Threatening Patient to Hospital with non-medically trained person

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Sending a Life Threatening Patient to Hospital with non-medically trained person

A Mennonite lady had a week old baby that was having difficulty breathing. A doctor came to the home and said the baby needed to go to the ER immediately. The doctor admitted but because it was Christmas, he didn’t call an ambulance because of people celebrating. Instead, a person who is not medically trained was called to drive them to the hospital, which is over 45 mintues away. They instructed the driver that,

Asked on August 21, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the baby needed care at that moment that could have been provided outside the hospital. If so, then the doctor's failure to do so may well have been malpractice. But if there was nothing that realistically could have been done outside of a hospital setting, then having the child driven to the hospital was in fact reasonable medical care and there was no malpractice. Therefore, the answer to the question is "it depends"--that is, it depends on whether the presence of a medical trained person was necessary or would make any difference under these circumstances.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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