Medical malpractice is a personal injury involving negligence on the part of a medical professional. It involves a patient suffering medical injuries due to a breach in professional duty. Some types of actions can lead to a medical malpractice claim. One type of action is called patient abandonment.

What is Patient Abandonment?

Patient Abandonment refers to a physician terminating a physician-patient relationship without reasonable excuse or reasonable notice. The physician fails to provide any qualified replacement to the patient.

What are the Elements of Patient Abandonment?

The exact elements vary by jurisdiction. However, there are some common elements in many patient abandonment claims:

  • There’s a physician-patient relationship. The physician agreed to treat the individual and the treatment must be current at the time of the abandonment.
  • The abandonment takes place at a critical stage. The term critical stage refers to the patient needing medical treatment.
  • The abandonment of the patient is so abrupt the patient doesn’t have enough resources or time to find another qualified physician to take over treatment.
  • The patient suffers an injury. This injury was the direct result of the physician’s abandonment.

How Does Patient Abandonment Occur?

There are many situations where a physician can abandon a patient such as:

  • The hospital doesn’t have adequate staffing to treat patients
  • The physician or medical staff doesn’t contact a patient who has missed a vital follow-up appointment
  • A patient asks an important question, but the medical staff fails to relay it to the physician
  • The physician’s medical staff schedules an appointment so far in advance that it causes harm to the patient

My Physician Claims He Doesn’t have the Medical Knowledge to Treat My Condition. Is this Patient Abandonment?

It’s generally a valid reason not to provide ongoing treatment to the patient. However, if the physician misleads or fails to reveal this lack of knowledge before the patient would suffer harm, then the physician may still be liable.

What If I am The Victim of Patient Abandonment, Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Yes. Ask a personal injury lawyer about suing your physician for medical malpractice.