What can we do if an orthopedic surgeon refuses to fix a broken bone without insurance or 3000 down

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can we do if an orthopedic surgeon refuses to fix a broken bone without insurance or 3000 down

Daughter-in-law broke a bone in her upper arm and has waited 3 days to see a surgeon after going to the emergency room. No surgeon available at the time due to a mini vacation. Now he says he won’t touch it unless we come up with 3000 to hand him. She could lose the use of her arm because of this. Just wondering what to do to open their eyes. The doctors oath doesn’t mean much to them.

Asked on November 30, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Wyoming


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A doctor is not a charity: the law does not make doctors or hospitals provide services without being paid. If you don't have insurance to ensure or guaranty that they are paid, they are entitled to ask for cash up front--otherwise, you could easily "walk" on the bill and force them to go through collections efforts...efforts which would be useless if you are insolvent. A store doesn't need to sell you food unless you pay for it, no matter how hungry you are; a landlord can evict you if don't pay rent, even if you have nowhere to go; a plumber doesn't need to work on a leak, even one threatening to ruin your home, unless you meet his payment terms or requirements; and a doctor or hospital does not need to provide treatment unless you pay.

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