Understanding Patient Abandonment

Aug 20th, 2015 | Firm News

When a relationship between a physician and their patient is terminated, dismissing their access to critical medical care, this is legally termed as abandonment. Though there are valid reasons as to why this might happen, patient abandonment should be avoided whenever possible. This mistake can lead to further injury or result in worsened medical conditions, negligence which falls in line with medical malpractice — a risky legal liability. Physicians in the New Haven, Connecticut area may be liable for one of two forms of this medical malpractice: intentional abandonment and inadvertent abandonment.

What Are Intentional and Inadvertent Abandonments?

A patient might have their relationship with a physician terminated if the physician’s fees fail to be paid. This is an example of intentional abandonment. Medical expenses are the responsibility of the patient themselves or their insurance company, but a jury normally feels little concern for a physician who has dropped a patient solely because they could not pay their bills. Errors in billing and coding are common, and insurance companies refuse to cover some medical expenses, leaving the bill unpaid. Denying care for a patient due to a billing mistake can be deemed conspiracy, medical professional negligence that is not easily forgiven.

Patients may also be abandoned inadvertently. The most common reason for this action is miscommunication surrounding the presence of the physician. During a medical emergency or event which prevents the physician from being in the office, patients who are in need of medical care might find themselves redirected or without care at all. Failure to arrange coverage cannot always be avoided, but all efforts should be made to do so to prevent abandonment.

There are other reasons that a patient may be abandoned, such as scheduling mistakes or other miscommunication. For more information or advice, it may be beneficial to consult with an attorney.