Charles Collins underwent neck surgery performed by Dr. Shanker Sundrani after which he started showing symptoms of spine compression, resulting in quadriparesis, or weakness in all four limbs. Subsequently, Dr. Cesar Vivanco was consulted to treat him and Collins alleged that Dr. Vivanco failed to confer with Sundrani to determine the exact cause of the patient’s condition…law360, Texas Court OKs Doc’s Trial Win In Patient’s Spine Injury Suit, Y. Peter Kang, 2020

Instead he tasked a nurse to call Sundrani since Dr. Sundrani was not picking up his phone. This, according to him, constituted a breach of standard of care because he had a nondelegable duty to speak directly with Sundrani about the patient’s condition.

An Eighth Court of Appeals panel however, upheld an El Paso County jury’s decision to clear Dr. Cesar Vivanco of any wrongdoing and said that Collins failed to establish the existence of a nondelegable duty in the context of the case. According to the court, it found no statute or case law that imposes a nondelegable duty upon an attending physician to discuss a patient’s condition by having a direct physician-to-physician contact.

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Kayur V. Patel, MD, MRO, FACP, FACPE, FACHE, FACEP
KayurVPatel@ExpertWitness.MD