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When is Abandonment by a Doctor Justified?

Just because a physician or dentist agrees to take you on as his patient does not mean that he is stuck with you forever.  You have to be a good patient.  If you do not follow the doctor’s orders, or miss appointments, or do not pay your bill, or are abusive, or if the doctor retires or decides he does not want to continue treating you, for any reason whatsoever, all he has to do is give you fair warning. This warning will come usually by letter, saying he will not treat you anymore after a certain date.

A Doctor Can Legitimately Drop You as a Patient

A doctor can legitimately drop you as a patient, against your will, at any time and for any number of reasons.  Failure to pay your bill, his belief that you should be treated by a doctor in another specialty, a personality conflict, or he is going on a long vacation, are only a few valid reasons your doctor may drop you.  However, there are some requirements any doctor must adhere to if they wish to drop you as a patient:

No Longer Need Your Doctor’s Care

A doctor can choose to release you as a patient, if you no longer need his care.  A neurosurgeon decide there is nothing more he can do for you and turn your case over to a physical therapist.  You cannot compel a doctor to treat you against his professional judgment.

Consent to Termination of the Doctor’s Services

You may also consent to termination of the doctor’s services.  The most common way this happens when a patient goes to another doctor.  The act of consulting someone else releases the first doctor from future obligations, but it does not relieve him of responsibility for what he already did.

Adequate Notice to Find Another Doctor

He gives you adequate notice so you can find another doctor.  A doctor will usually recommend another doctor or hospital who will accept you as a patient, but he does not have to.  Most doctors do not want to prejudice their professional relationships by unloading deadbeats or unpleasant patients onto their colleagues.  And, the doctor recommended does not have to be as qualified as the doctor who is dropping you.  It is not your doctor’s fault if he is the only neurosurgeon in town, and you have to travel to another town to find another neurosurgeon.  That is not his problem.  The law requires him to give you adequate warning so you can look for a replacement doctor.

The Rule Is: You cannot accuse a doctor of abandonment, if he gives you fair warning, and a substitute doctor is available.

Thousands of patients suffer, due to medical and dental malpractice, and do not get the compensation they deserve.  If you are a victim of malpractice, or your client is a victim of malpractice, contact JD.MD, Inc., today at 800-225-5363.  We can provide you with an initial case evaluation or an expert’s opinion.

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