Can a doctor refuse to take a new patient due to history of 1 missed appointment because they were in the hospital?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a doctor refuse to take a new patient due to history of 1 missed appointment because they were in the hospital?

My husband went to the ER with severe abdominal pain. He had acute pancreatitis. He was treated and sent home with a referral to a gastroenterologist. My husband made an appointment with the doctor and the day of his appointment was in the hospital for the same reason. Due to progress was discharged without seeing doctor. He has since been trying to make an appointment with the doctor whose secretaries are refusing. They are saying that the doctor won’t take him due to appointment history. They have also admitted on a recorded call that the only 1 appointment he has missed was when he was in hospital.

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are limitations on a doctor's ability to drop an existing patient, if that patient is in need of medical care and the patient does not have another doctor lined up.  There are, however, no laws or ethical rules requiring doctors to take new patients, if either there is some business or personal reason to not accept the new patient, or the practice is full up, or both. From what you write, your husband is a new patient; he did not actually see this doctor ever. While it  may be only one appointment that was missed, it was the very first appointment--which is also often the longest one, since there is a lot of "intake" work and initial testing and consultation. A doctor is a business: he does  not have to accept a new patient who has already demonstrated to the doctor unreliability (even if there was a reason for), causing the doctor to lose money since the doctor would not have scheduled other patients for the time slot allocated to your husband's initial visit.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption