Skip to site content

Risk Matters: Physician-Patient Relationships

With school starting back and fall sports practices commencing, many physicians and providers will be asked to perform a sports physical to provide medical clearance for student athletes to participate in sports activities.  Most jurisdictions will find that even a single encounter for the limited purpose of performing a sports physical creates a physician/provider - patient relationship. Often a physician/provider who is asked to perform the physical has no prior history with the patient and limited medical information. Therefore, it is important that the physician/provider obtain a detailed history from the patient (and parent if possible) and perform a thorough exam on the student athlete. Primary areas of concern should be prior injuries, respiratory function, concussion risk, and conditions which might lead to cardiac arrest.  Sports physicals should never be considered perfunctory exams. The bottom line is do not merely rubberstamp the clearance certificate, or you may be at risk of a malpractice claim.

About The Author

Jeffrey A. Woods is the Director of Risk Education in the Risk Education and Evaluation Services Department at SVMIC. Jeff received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee Martin and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Following graduation, he practiced law in Knoxville for almost 15 years, advising physicians and healthcare providers and defending them in malpractice claims. He is licensed to practice in Tennessee and all Federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association.

Jeff joined SVMIC in 2003 and was a Senior Claims Attorney until 2015 when he transferred to his current position.

The contents of The Sentinel are intended for educational/informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Policyholders are urged to consult with their personal attorney for legal advice, as specific legal requirements may vary from state to state and/or change over time.

Apply Today

Our team is here to answer any questions you might have or to help you fill out a quote application.

need help?

We're always just an email or phone call away.

contact us