Patient Abandonment; What Is It?

This occurs when a doctor terminates a relationship with patient for no apparent reason and without any notice of their intent to terminate before-hand. It is considered a form of malpractice when a doctor has done this. Below will be described the components that make a patient abandonment case, and examples to better comprehend what patient abandonment is.

Patient Abandonment Components

The legal liability of a patient abandonment performed by a doctor varies from state-to-state. Each state has their way of holding the doctor accountable. Determining if a patient abandonment has taken place is very specific in facts and the issues. Here are some common components:

  1. There must have been an agreement between the doctor and patient, where the doctor agreed to treat the patient, and the patient agreed to the treatment. This is called doctor-patient relationship.
  2. Patient abandonment must take place during the critical stage of the patient. In other words, when they are still in need of treatment.
  3. Had to have happened extremely fast; not allowing the patient to seek any other doctor in time to continue with their treatment.
  4. There must have been an injury endured due to the patient abandonment.

Patient Abandonment Illustrations

Patient abandonment does occur within the medical field, and sometimes it can be because the medical bills were not paid by the patient. If the patient ends up getting harmed due to their doctor being unavailable, as well as the backup doctor and they get harmed from it, then they can have a patient abandonment case.

This situation above also applies to other medical professionals, not just a doctor. It can be a registered nurse, and nursing assistance, and more, if they have had a relationship established, then they have been legally bind.

Abonnement can happen in any of these instances:

  • Under-staff of employees
  • Not following-up with a patient after they have missed an appointment that was a grave relevance
  • The attending staff does bring up the questions that have been asked by the patient to the doctor
  • An appointment is scheduled too far apart from the last appointment, and if the condition worsens during that time, then it could have been a preventable harm

When Is It Considered to Not Be Abandonment?

Most of the time, when a patient-doctor relationship has ended, they are not always means for a malpractice claim. There are reasonable explanations why a patient was abandoned such as:

  • The doctor is unable to provide the correct treatment because they lack the skills
  • The doctor’s recommendations are not followed by the patient
  • Adequate treatment cannot be provided due to a lack of supplies that the facility may have
  • Inappropriate behavior by the patient (verbal abuse, sexual remarks)
  • And more

The doctor must give the patient a written notice and the reason why they have decided to terminate their relationship. This must be done to avoid liability if the doctor has a valid reason for ending the doctor-patient relationship. The doctor must give the patient time to find another doctor that will treat them, and so the doctor must continue treating the patient until they have found another physician. The medical records of the patient must be transferred to the physician that will be taking over the patient’s treatments. For more information speak with the best personal injury attorney in Miami.

Stephen Boutros

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Stephen Boutros Ltd. is dedicated to provide strong legal representation for all types of personal injury cases throughout Harris County, Texas.

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