Can a doctor refuse to continue treatment if you choose a different course of treatment than the one that they recommend?

UPDATED: Nov 10, 2010

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Can a doctor refuse to continue treatment if you choose a different course of treatment than the one that they recommend?

Can my doctor pressure me into a treatment option (minimally invasive) and refuse treating me because I prefer another option (conservative). Results of treatment in both would not make a difference in my case and actually I have no medical indications for the minimally invasive option. She called me and told me that she will not approve me and I should look for another provider. Can she legally cut me off like this and waste my time and refuse treatment because she doesn’t want my option?

Asked on November 10, 2010 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Asked in another way: can your doctor "fire" you and refuse to treat you?  Yes, he or she can.  The only time that a doctor can not refuse to treat you is in an emergency room situation.  But once they evaluate you and if it is not an emergency they can then refuse to treat you.  What ever you believe the doctor's motives are here she has the right to refuse to treat you.  It seems that she has done so based on YOUR medical determination as to treatment, but you are not a doctor.  I am not saying that your evaluation is incorrect.  On the contrary.  More patients should be as pro-active in their treatment as you seem to be.  But she does not agree so seek a new provider. Good luck.

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