The Second Department determined the actions against two physicians tasked with reading plaintiff's spinal MRI should have been dismissed. There was unrefuted evidence the MRI's were read correctly and the doctors' duties did not extend beyond the interpretation of the MRI:
“Although physicians owe a general duty of care to their patients, that duty may be limited to those medical functions undertaken by the physician and relied on by the patient” … .
Here, both West and Davis established, prima facie, that they discharged their respective duties to the injured plaintiff in accordance with accepted practices. West's expert concluded that West's interpretation of the … MRI film was correct, and in accordance with accepted practices. The plaintiffs' expert did not dispute this conclusion, but instead opined that West should have ordered a diffusion MRI to look for evidence of the injured plaintiff's condition. However, as West correctly contends, he had no such duty to do so. West's role was to interpret the MRI film and document his findings. He did not assume a general duty of care to independently diagnose the injured plaintiff's medical condition … .
Similarly, the plaintiffs' argument that Davis had a duty to examine the injured plaintiff in person and to ensure that high-dose steroids were properly administered also is without merit. Davis's duty as a neurosurgical consultant was to determine whether neurosurgery was necessary. He determined that it was not. His expert stated that this conclusion was correct, and in accordance with accepted practices. The plaintiffs' expert did not dispute this conclusion, and did not argue that neurosurgery was necessary. Meade v Yland, 2016 NY Slip Op 04697, 2nd Dept 6-15-16
NEGLIGENCE (PHYSICIAN'S DUTY EXTENDS ONLY TO THE TASK ASSIGNED, HERE THE INTERPRETATION OF MRI FILM)/MEDICAL MALPRACTICE (PHYSICIAN'S DUTY EXTENDS ONLY TO THE TASK ASSIGNED, HERE THE INTERPRETATION OF MRI FILM)/DUTY OF CARE (PHYSICIANS, PHYSICIAN'S DUTY EXTENDS ONLY TO THE TASK ASSIGNED, HERE THE INTERPRETATION OF MRI FILM)