What is considered “Patient Abandonment”?

My sister-in-law was seen in the emrgency room and treated for a severe kidney infection; she stayed there for a week. After being discharged from the hospital she was told to follow up with the doctor who performed the procedure (she has a tube and stent attached to her kidney). She called to make an appointment and they told her they did not accept Medicaid and that she should look for another doctor.

Asked on November 12, 2012 under Malpractice Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

That is not abandonment. Doctors are not required to treat patients for free, and the law does not require doctors to all take Medicare. If your sister had no means of paying the doctor that the doctor accepted, the doctor is not required to treat her.


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