come in contact with the patient of the danger of contracting said disease. The court also noted that Section 4427 of the Ohio General Code required the reporting of such diseases to public health officials.
Also cited is Kaiser v. Suburban Transportation System, 65 Wash.2d 461, 398 P.2d 14 (1965). The relevant question presented in that case was whether a physician is responsible for injuries suffered by non-patient bus passengers because he failed to warn his patient, a bus driver, that a possible side effect of a prescribed drug was drowsiness or lassitude. In that case, the bus struck a telephone pole when the driver lost consciousness while at the wheel. The court held that the plaintiff set forth a proper cause of action and a question for the jury.
In the cited case of Freese v. Lemmon, 210 N.W.2d 576 (Iowa, 1973), the court held that the trial court erred when it granted the defendant physician's motion to dismiss in a case where the plaintiff, a pedestrian injured when the physician's patient lost control of his auto, alleged the defendant physician (1) negligently failed to diagnose the cause of the patient's seizure and the possibility of its recurrence, (2) negligently failed to warn the patient not to drive an automobile, and (3) negligently advised the patient that he could drive an automobile.
In the last case cited, Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal.3d 425, 131 Cal.Rptr. 14, 551 P.2d 334 (1976), the plaintiff sought to recover against University psychiatrists for the murder of plaintiff's daughter because the psychiatrist failed to exercise reasonable care after learning that a patient intended to kill plaintiff's daughter. The court held that the discharge of such duty may require the psychiatrist to take one or more of various steps depending on the nature of the case, including detaining his patient or warning the intended victim and police officials.
The cited cases are distinguishable from the case Sub judice in that in the former, the defendant physicians' failure to control the conduct of their patients resulted in harm to the non-patient plaintiffs. In the cited cases, the respective courts determined that the resulting harm was a foreseeable consequence of the physicians' failure to control the conduct of their patients.
In the case Sub judice, the physicians were not under a duty to control the conduct of Mrs. Soto. The injuries from which both she and her husband suffered were not caused by a communicable disease. Moreover, the decedent was not injured as a result of an act performed by Mrs. Soto.
In the cases cited by the plaintiff, the respective courts extended a duty to the treating physicians for various reasons. In the cases dealing with a communicable disease, it was determined that the physician is in a position to prevent the diseases' proliferation.
Similarly, in those cases where the the physician possessed intimate knowledge of his patient's inability to control his conduct due to the possible side-effects of prescribed medication or the likelihood of a seizure, the courts imposed a duty on the physician to use reasonable care to protect the public. In addition to concluding that the defendant physician owed a duty to the non-patient in each of the cited cases, the courts found that the negligence of the physician was a substantial cause of the non-patient's injuries.
In the instant case, plaintiff's husband's connection vis-a-vis the defendant physicians was one step removed from that of the plaintiffs in the cited cases. Moreover, here, the defendant physicians were not under a statutory duty, nor was there a patient whose conduct needed to be controlled. Under the circumstances of this case plaintiff's husband would have suffered his injuries regardless of what treatment the physicians administered to Mrs. Soto, since she was not the actor causing her husband's injuries. For these reasons, we have concluded that the defendant physicians did not owe a duty to plaintiff's husband, nor was the alleged negligence of the defendant physicians a substantial cause of Mr. Soto's injuries.