Patient abandonment ?
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Patient abandonment ?
I have been treated by the same neurologist for the past 5 ears for multiple sclerosis as well as ADD. I call monthly for medication refills. This month the office told me my doctor is no longer associated with their group. The associated doctors are not taking my doctor’s patients. I had a MS episode over the last few days and had a lot of pain and was unable to walk. In the past I would call my doctor and he would prescribe steroids. That did not happen as he’s no longer around. It will take me some time to find another good doctor in the field of MS. I am fairly confident the doctor and or his partners cannot just leave me on my own to seek treatment from another doctor without cause or warning. I would like to know If I have a claim or not. If so, what type of lawyer would I need to retain?
Asked on December 12, 2016 under Malpractice Law, New Jersey
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 4 years ago | Contributor
Why do you think a doctor's practice cannot decline to take the patients of one of their members who is no longer with them? They can certainly refuse to take a former practice member's patients for any of a number of reasons, such as: 1) the departing doctor is practicing elsewhere and they don't want to get into a fight with him over who "owns" the patients; 2) they don't have the capacity, now that they are down a doctor, to cover more patients; 3) the doctor is no longer with the practice because of disputes over how he was treating his patients, and the remaining doctors do not want to take over patients whose treatment they disagree with; 4) there is some litigtation involving or against that doctor and by taking his patients, they could damage or become heavily involved in the litigation, etc.; or 5) the remaining doctors simply do not want to take on any additional patients and have to work order or longer than they currently are.
Doctors are private citizens: they have the right to not take on additional patients, even those of other practice/group members.