March 14, 2015
Termination of the Relationship and Abandonment
Being in Legal Issues since January, I have learned a tremendous amount of information regarding legality within the healthcare world. One particular topic that stuck with me is Termination of the Relationship and Abandonment. I was surprised to learn that a physician can discontinue working with a patient at any given time. While reading chapter four, I was so fascinated and eager to learn more about this topic. While researching, I came across a website which contributed more to the textbook and increased my knowledge of the subject.
I selected this topic because I was surprised to learn that a physician can terminate or withdraw from a contract with a patient, as long as the patient’s given ample time to find another doctor willing to take their case. However, the patient may be able to claim abandonment, which is declared when the patient feels like he/she is being abandoned by the practicing doctor for reasons unknown. This means the doctor did not specify why they are withdrawing from the case and did not give a certain amount of time for the patient to find another physician willing to take over their case. It was also quite interesting to learn how a patient and doctor mutually come to the agreement of termination of their care and involvement with each other.
From me reading this material, I learned that when you accept a patient in your practice, you are obligated to give them an ethical and legal service. Therefore, the provider needs to continue services to the patient as long as the patient needs consulting. It also stated how there are a lot of occurrences with doctors withdrawing from patients due to their lack of cooperation. “There may be times, however, when you may no longer be able to provide care; it may be that the patient is non-compliant, unreasonably demanding, threatening to you and your staff” (Meritt, 2013,). Sometimes the physician is no longer able to provide care because the patient has become problematic, unwilling to cooperate, or intimidating towards the doctor and even the staff members. This is when the physician can end the patient-physician relationship between the two. Before the doctor decides to withdraw, he must notify the patient within ample time that he/she is withdrawing from the case. This must be done in a professional manner so the patient does not declare “patient abandonment” and in return has enough time to find another experienced replacement.
Thus, Termination of the Relationship and Abandonment informed me of a physician’s right to withdraw from patients, but must have a valuable reason, such as the patient’s lack of cooperation with the doctor. Also, the physician needs to give a certain amount of time of withdrawing from the case and doing it in a professional manner so the patient will not claim “patient abandonment” to a lawyer. Lastly, the patient and physician can mutually terminate care between the two when they feel their care is no longer needed for one another.
Meritt, M. (2013, October 27). Ethics on Ending the Patient-Physician Relationship. Retrieved March 09, 2016, from http://www.physicianspractice.com/blog/ethics-ending-patient-physician-
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