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The apparent agency doctrine recognizes that a 'principal will be bound not only by that authority which he actually gives to another, but also by the authority which he appears to give.' Gilbert v. Sycamore Municipal Hospital, 156 Ill. 2d 511, 523 (1993). In other words, if the principal creates the appearance that someone is his agent, the principal will not then be permitted to deny the agency where an innocent third party has relied on it and has been harmed as a result. Gilbert, 156 Ill. 2d at 524.

In Gilbert a patient suffered a heart attack after being treated and released by a physician at a hospital emergency room. The patient sued the hospital for negligence, and the trial court granted the hospital summary judgment on the theory that the hospital could not be held vicariously liable because the emergency room physician was an independent contractor, not an actual agent of the hospital. The court reversed the grant of summary judgment in the hospital's favor, finding that a genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether the physician was an apparent agent of the hospital. Gilbert, 156 Ill. 2d at 526.


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