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The Scope of the Medical Duty to Treat: An Analytical Study under Jordanian Law and Common Law

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Under common law, a physician may not have a duty to treat in the absence of a physician-patient contractual relationship. This is generally called the ‘no duty’ rule. This paper argues against the application of this rule to emergency cases. A number of recent cases have made remarkable development with regards to the ‘medical duty to treat’. Jordanian law imposes the ‘medical duty to treat’ in emergency cases and gives physicians the choice to accept or refuse to treat in non-emergency cases. Jordanian law allows physicians to discontinue treating their patients provided that no harm results from this abandonment and that patients are appropriately informed of how to continue their treatment. This paper argues against this legal approach in cases where a patient contracts with a physician to treat him personally. This paper concludes that physicians should be required, in all jurisdictions, to provide medical care in all emergency cases regardless of whether a physician-patient contract exists. It also submits that Jordanian law should not allow physicians to abandon their patients in cases where they are contractually required to provide medical care personally.

Affiliations: 1: Yarmouk University Jordan


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