Patient abandonment can happen in a variety of contexts, however, it basically refers to a form of neglect when a patient does not receive care or if they do the care is inadequate and results in injury. In such cases, the patient is denied necessary medical care, and this should always be avoided.
One reasons for patient abandonment has do with money: the failure to pay medical bills, either on behalf of the patient or the patient's insurance company. It is especially distasteful when a doctor refuses care because the patient's insurance carrier refuses to pay. If a physician is planning to cease treatment due to the patient's failure to pay, they should ensure that the patient won't be injured by that decision.
Inadvertent abandonment often happens with problems with backup coverage when a physician is unavailable. While a jury would likely be more sympathetic towards a doctor who was unavailable because of a medical emergency, that's not the case if the doctor was out at a social gathering. Whatever the "reasons," they don't change the fact that a patient needs adequate medical care regardless of the doctor's schedule.
Patients can also be abandoned in other ways, including:
- The appointment clerk refuses to let the patient talk to a doctor.
- A procedure is scheduled too far in advance and injuries result.
- Doctor drops a patient without notice and won't return the patient's calls.
- A laboring woman enters the hospital and she is neglected by hospital staff.
- A patient enters the emergency room and does not receive treatment.
When patient abandonment occurs and the patient experienced injuries as a result, it is a form of medical malpractice. Whether it was inadvertent or intentional, the doctor can be held liable for damages.
To learn more about patient abandonment and other forms of medical malpractice, contact The Moore Law Firm today! We gladly offer free case evaluations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis.