Court rejects Hospital's effort to deny that ER physician was its agent
Gratiot Community Hospital contracted with Nathan Zziwambazza and the Emergency Physicians Medical Group to staff its Emergency Room. Nevertheless, when Arthur Reeves was taken to the hospital ER suffering from a stroke, the Hospital argued it was not responsible for the care Zziwambazza provided. When Reeves' Guardian sued the doctor and Gratiot Medical Center, the hospital alleged that it merely provided a place for Zziwambazza to provide care to Reeves. The trial court agreed and dismissed Gratiot from the lawsuit.The Court of Appeals overturned this dismissal, holding that there was a clear issue of fact with regard to whether Zziwambazza was an "apparent" agent of the hospital. It noted that there was no pre-existing physician-patient relationship and that Arthur was taken to the ER looking to the Hospital to provide care. It also noted that the medical documents relating to the hospitalization implied that care would be provided by the hospital, not an independent physician's group. Judge Joel Hoekstra would have affirmed dismissal of the hospital because the doctor was wearing a white smock with "Emergency Physicians Medical Group" embroidered on the chest.