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Doctors don't have to remind patients of appointments

Doctors don't have to remind patients of appointments

Doctors are not obliged to inform patients about making appointments.

(07/19/2010) Doctors are not obliged to inform patients about making appointments, for example for preventive examinations. Rather, it is enough if the doctor points out the need for such appointments, judged the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz.

It would stretch the duty of care, the judges said, if a doctor had to impose patients on patients, to arrange another check-up and to meet appointments. This also applies if there is an urgent suspicion of a serious illness. It is sufficient if the doctor points out such an examination in the patient consultation. (OLG Koblenz, Az: 5 U 186/10). In the appeal process, the higher regional judges overturned a judgment of the regional court in Trier and dismissed a patient's complaint.

In the specific case, a woman had sued her treating gynecologist for a total of 150,000 euros in pain and suffering. The patient accused the doctor of not having sufficiently urged her to undergo further check-ups. The patient was suspected of having cancer. The regional court in Trier saw this as a breach of medical duties and awarded the applicant 30,000 euros in pain and suffering. In contrast, the doctor appealed to the Higher Regional Court and was more successful now.

The Higher Regional Court ruled that it would suffice if the doctor pointed out the need for subsequent check-ups. The patient is responsible for further responsibility. She now had to decide when, if and with whom she had such a check-up carried out. The treating doctor is therefore not obliged to ask the patient when he / she wants to have an examination. Because such a demand could even put the patient in need of an explanation, because it is possible that the patient had looked for another doctor. The judgment is now more final. (sb)

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