The duty to treat can arise in four ways:
l. The health care provider have previously entered into a health care provider-patient relationship.
2. The health care provider may inadvertently establish a relationship with the patient in the process of determining whether the patient will be treated.
3. The health care provider may offer services to the general public that the patient relies on in seeking care (the emergency room situation).
4. The state where the health care provider is practicing may have laws creating a duty to treat in certain situations.
The health care provider must be very careful to recognize when a duty to treat exists. If a patient to whom the provider owes such a duty is refused treatment, the provider will be responsible for any harm that results from the refusal of care.
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