Illinois Supreme Court Holds Physicians Can't Hide Behind Good Samaritan Act
The Illinois Supreme Court has recently taken away a significant defense from careless and/or negligent physicians in Illinois. The Good Samaritan Act, generally, protects physicians who "volunteer" their services in emergencies from liability for negligent and/or careless acts or conduct in responding to the emergency situation. However, the Illinois Supreme Court has recently ruled that the Act does not shield on-duty emergency room doctors who don't bill a particular patient. See Home Star Bank & Financial Services v. Emergency Care & Health Organization, Ltd., 2014 IL 115526 (2014). In a patient-supportive decision, the Court held that physicians are held to the same standard of care when they treat patients at medical facilities whether or not they bill a patient for a procedure. The ruling by the Court was unanimous in holding that the Act cannot be used as a liability defense by an emergency room physician who was sued for negligence after he attempted to intubate a patient who subsequent suffered permanent brain damage.
The Court held that where a physician is paid for his employment, the physician may not hide behind the Good Samaritan Act by simply failing to bill a patient whom they believe may sue them for negligence. The Act was not intended for that purpose, but rather, was intended to protect those who volunteer, and not those who are paid while working in a medical facility.
The experienced lawyers here at Strong Law Offices are here to assist you in investigating you or a loved one's potential claims of medical negligence. If you or a loved one have been hurt by the careless or negligent conduct of a medical provider or medical professional, it is vitally important to seek legal representation and assistance immediately. Contact Strong Law Offices today.