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Is Patient Abandonment a Medical Malpractice Issue?

By: Anapol Weiss

Patient abandonment refers to a situation in which a health care provider terminates a relationship with a patient, fails to provide a reasonable excuse or notice, and fails to assist in selecting a qualified replacement provider. In certain situations, patients who were abandoned and suffered injuries may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

There are a few general elements of patient abandonment cases:

  1. The doctor and patient have established a relationship.
  2. The patient was abandoned while he or she was still in need of medical care.
  3. The termination of the relationship did not allow the patient enough time or resources to find a suitable replacement physician.
  4. The patient was injured as a direct result of the abandonment.

A patient can suffer from serious and preventable harm as a result of negligent actions including the following:

  • Inadequate staffing
  • A communication error by medical staff
  • Failure to contact a patient who has missed an important appointment
  • Failure to answer an urgent question from the patient

Patient abandonment is a complex legal issue that requires intricate investigation to determine whether a health care professional negligently ended a relationship. Not all situations give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit, and rules involving liability in these cases vary by state.

We can help if you or a family member was injured after a health care provider negligently terminated your relationship. Contact our Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers for assistance.