Is medical abandonment a form of malpractice?


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Question:

Is medical abandonment a type of malpractice? My doctor left a friend if mine without complete care, and he got worse and had to have emergency surgery. Can he file a lawsuit?

Answer:

The short answer is “yes.” Medical abandonment (or patient abandonment) can add up to the kind of medical negligence that can form the basis for a viable medical malpractice case.

Now for the long answer: Abandonment occurs when a physician refuses to continue treating a patient who is still in need of medical attention. In essence, the doctor severs the physician-patient relationship without giving the patient proper notice and a reasonable opportunity to find another physician who can take over the patient’s care. You’re going to need to establish a all of those elements in order to make a successful case.

What’s more, you’ll need to show that some kind of tangible harm resulted from the “abandonment,” because even if the abandonment amounted to medical negligence, it is only actionable if it was the legal cause of damages suffered by the plaintiff. No harm, no foul, in other words.

Like most medical malpractice cases, a patient abandonment claim will hinge on establishing that what the defendant doctor did (or did not to) in light of the appropriate medical standard of care under the circumstances.

The injured patient will typically retain a qualified expert medical witness who has experience in the medical field in which the defendant specializes. The medical witness will examine the records and the facts before presenting thorough testimony on 1) the type and quality of care that a competent and similarly-trained medical professional would have provided in the same circumstances, and 2) how the care that the defendant provided failed to measure up to that standard. 

by: , J.D.

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