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November 27, 1996

Medical-Legal Aspects of Curbside Consultation

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois College of Medicine Urbana-Champaign

JAMA. 1996;276(20):1635. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540200021015

To the Editor.  —The Commentary by Drs Manian and Janssen1 provided a useful framework for considerations of curbside consultations. The reasons for curbside consultation, advantages, disadvantages, and recommendations are adeptly discussed. However, further elaboration is necessary regarding concerns of recording the consultant's name in the patient medical record as a potential subject for litigation without the patient's having been seen formally. At the time, the authors were "not aware of any successful lawsuits brought against a curbside consultant for having given incorrect advice. The possibility of being named in such litigation, however frivolous and groundless, is still a matter of concern."1With health care in the United States trending toward increased use of managed care, the legal issues borne out by informal communication in the case of Hand v Tavera2 deserve further consideration. In this case, a physician-patient relationship (and, hence, legal liability) was found to exist when