Memo Essay

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I. Under Maryland law, can a physician who is defined as a mental health provider, be held liable to a third party for negligence for breaching their duty to warn the third party?
II. Can a claim against a heath care provider for medical malpractice, where the injury falls outside the scope of a medical injury, be subject to mandatory arbitration under The Maryland Health Medical Malpractice Claims Act?
BRIEF ANSWERS
I. Probably not, a physician cannot be held liable to third parties for failure to warn a third party if no special relationship between the physician and the third party has been established through Maryland statute or common law.
I. Probably not, injuries that are not the result of a health care provider’s rendering or failure to render health care are not considered medical injuries, and are not subject to mandatory arbitration under The Maryland Health Medical Malpractice Claims Act.
FACTS
A year after dating Steve Hodges, Shelly M. Turner permitted Hodges to spend the weekends at her house. Turner has two children, Tabitha and Sabrina, and Turner upheld a strict policy of not allowing her children to be at the home unsupervised with any significant others. Turner noticed that Hodges made frequent visits to his doctor, and when Turner questioned Hodges about the appointments, he mentioned the visits were for the purpose of preventive care to ensure he didn’t have any medical reoccurrences. Turner and Hodge’s relationship progressed to the point of discussions on marriage, having children, and moving in together. Hodges told Turner he was suffering from sexual dysfunction problems and was going to see his longtime family physician, Dr. Keith Winslow, to be prescribed Viagra.
Winslow prescribed Hodges Viagra on the condition that Hodges would have to continue his routine appointments to receive refills on the Viagra prescription. Hodges told Turner that Winslow required him to keep coming back into the office because of his past medical history and Winslow was concerned about any medical effects of prescribing Viagra. A couple of months later, Winslow asked Hodges to bring Turner and her children into the office so Winslow could reassess Hodges’s health.
Winslow and Turner discussed Turner’s relationship with Hodges, as well as the children’s relationship with Hodges. Winslow explained to Turner he could not discuss Hodges’s medical condition, but he thought all was fine with Hodges. Turner explained to Winslow that she had intentions of moving in with Hodges, and as a result, she was going to reevaluate her policy of leaving her children at home with a significant other. Turner expressed her concerns due to Hodges’s habitual doctor appointments, Hodges’s private nature concerning his medical status, and the unusual manner in which Hodges’s engaged in spells “staring out into space” or at Turner’s daughters. Turner asked Winslow if she should have any reservations about allowing Hodges to integrate into her home and her...

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