daughter to the hospital emergency room seeking emergency treatment for a wound to the child's forehead. It required stitches. The child was admitted for the necessary treatment. During the suturing procedure, Mrs. Sacks was permitted to remain with her daughter in the treatment room. The doctor on duty, while engaged in suturing the forehead, asked plaintiff to hold her daughter's head. Plaintiff voluntarily did as she was requested. While observing the suturing, plaintiff told the defendant's agent that she felt faint and was going to leave the treatment room. While exiting the rooms, Mrs. Sacks fainted and fell to the floor, sustaining injuries.
In evaluating whether a dismissal is proper under Rule 12(b)(6), "factual allegations of the complaint are to be accepted as true" and "reasonable inferences will be drawn to aid the pleader." D.P. Enterprises v. Bucks County Community College, 725 F.2d 943, 944 (3d Cir. 1984).
The hospital contends that plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed because a hospital owes no duty to a "non-patient" observing treatment of a patient in an emergency room setting. Because the hospital had not undertaken to render services to Mrs. Sacks, it asserts that it cannot be held liable for injuries which it did not cause.
Mrs. Sacks argues that since defendant, by its agents, permitted her to be present in the treatment room and asked her to assist in holding her daughter's head, she was placed in a situation which created a risk of harm to her and thus created a duty of care on the part of the hospital to protect her. Plaintiff further argues that the hospital assumed a duty of care when she informed defendant's personnel that she was going to faint. Plaintiff contends that this was a request for medical assistance which went unanswered.
Not every injury is compensable. At a minimum, a defendant must be found to owe a duty of care before it can be held responsible for a failure to exercise that duty reasonably. Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 281; Cantwell v. Allegheny County, 506 Pa. 35, 483 A.2d 1350 (1984); Klein v. Council of Chemical Associations, 587 F. Supp. 213, 224 (E.D. Pa. 1984). If based on circumstances for which the law imposes no duty of care, a negligence claim must fail. Duty is perceived as an obligation to which the law will give recognition in order to require one person to conform to a particular standard of conduct with respect to another person. Bradshaw v. Rawlings, 612 F.2d 135, 138 (3d Cir. 1979).
Instructive in analyzing the circumstances of this case is Section 323 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts (1965), which provides:
§ 323 Negligent Performance of Undertaking to Render Services.