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October 28, 1974

Creation of the Physician-Patient Relationship: Part 3

JAMA. 1974;230(4):611-612. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240040077049

THE FORMAL arrangements made by employers for physicians to examine prospective employees or by institutions to employ physicians to treat their resident populations were discussed in the first article in this series. Third-party contracts of a more informal nature are often the origin of a physician-patient relationship. One member of a family commonly will request the services of a physician for another family member. In general, the same relationship is created between the physician and this patient as when the patient himself arranges for the physician's services.

Children  A physician-patient relationship may well be established between a physician and an unborn child. If a physician is caring for a woman he knows (or should know) is pregnant and negligently he causes prenatal injuries, in some states he may be liable to the baby if it is born alive. In 1946, a court in the District of Columbia was the first