Oliver v. Brock

In Oliver v. Brock, 342 So. 2d 1, 3-4 (Ala. 1976), the Court recited the general rule governing physician-patient relationships as stated in 61 Am.Jur.2d, Physicians, Surgeons, and Other Healers 96: "'A physician is under no obligation to engage in practice or to accept profession employment, but when the professional services of a physician are accepted by another person for the purposes of medical or surgical treatment, the relation of physician and patient is created. The relation is a consensual one wherein the patient knowingly seeks the assistance of a physician and the physician knowingly accepts him as a patient. The relationship between a physician and patient may result from an express or implied contract, either general or special and the rights and liabilities of the parties thereto are governed by the general law of contract, although the existence of the relation does not need to rest on any express contract between the physician and the person treated. However, the voluntary acceptance of the physician-patient relationship by the affected parties creates a prima facie presumption of a contractual relationship between them. A physician may accept a patient and thereby incur the consequent duties although his services are performed gratuitously or at the solicitation and on the guaranty of a third person." Whether or not a physician-patient relationship exists depends upon the facts in each case. Oliver, 342 So. 2d at 4.