Medical Abandonment and a Physician’s Responsibility to Clients

Medical Abandonment and a Physician’s Responsibility to Clients

Many people do not know the duties of a doctor over a client, and the consequences of shortcomings in those duties. Once there is a relationship between a physician and a patient, every essential duty to ensure the patient’s health is on the physician.

There are different opinions about this on Some argue why it is compulsory for the physician to always tend to the patient, and some argue that there are serial patients who consult different physicians. It’s called doctor shopping.

However, people always need to get physician’s advice, and that is why they stick with one. But there is an “abandon” when the physician stops taking responsibility, and he/she doesn’t leave enough time for the patient to get another physician to oversee his/her health.

When the patient’s health dwindles due to this, the physician is responsible. Basic medical abandon occurs due to medical negligence, and sometimes, recklessness.

How to Define a Patient-Physician Relationship?

This is a professional relationship between a physician and a patient. It starts with the first diagnosis and possible treating of the patient. It continues until either of the two decides to terminate the relationship. This is an ethical relationship and it is often overseen by state laws, courts, or state medical boards.

Means to Terminate the Relationship:

It is possible to terminate the relationship between a patient and a physician through the following means:

  • Both the patient and the physician consent to terminating this relationship.
  • This then leads to the dismissal of the physician by the patient.
  • The physician can also terminate the relationship by allowing the patient to seek another physician to oversee him/her to avoid health complications.
  • Also, the relationship can come to an end when the patient is discharged without the need for further treatment.

However, sometimes, the relationship isn’t formally terminated. This could be because the patient requires constant treatment due to the nature of his/her illness. Although the physician may assume that he/she has played an essential role, the patient still frequents his/her office for subsequent treatment between the space of 2 years, or more.

How a Physician Can Terminate the Relationship?

  • The physician must allow the patient to seek another physician. Without this, the physician cannot reject or refuse to see the patient.

The sufficient time to find another physician is defined based on the nature of the patient’s health conditions. If the patient suffers from heart disease, it could require about two months or more to get a physician to take over. If it’s just a bruised toe, it could take less time to find another physician. Thus, before the relationship properly ends, another physician must be actively involved with the patient in another professional relationship.

  • Also, the physician must give proper notice to the patient either physically, via writing, or on phone. The letter, phone call, or whatever means used must be acknowledged by the patient.

Conclusively, it is unethical for either the patient or the physician to give a call and say”I don’t want to see you anymore”. Instead, it is ethical that the relationship is terminated by tendering reasonable reasons. This will not damage possible future engagements.