A strong patient-doctor relationship is essential to maintaining health and achieving good outcomes. A variety of factors can lead a physician to end a relationship with a patient, though. While they are not obligated to treat their patients forever, they must take measures to ensure the patient’s health is protected during the transition to a new treatment provider. If they do not, it may constitute patient abandonment. Abruptly ending the treating relationship can cause serious issues and, in many cases, is considered medical malpractice. If you were the victim of patient abandonment, you may be owed damages, and you should speak to an attorney. The skillful Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers of Arfaa Law Group are proficient at helping people harmed by inadequate medical care seek redress for their losses, and if you engage our services, we will fight to help you seek justice.Elements of Patient Abandonment
Patient abandonment is the term used to describe a doctor abruptly terminating a treatment relationship with a patient without reasonable cause or notice. Patient abandonment can only occur when there is an existing patient-doctor relationship. In other words, the physician agreed to treat the patient, and treatment has begun. The abandonment has to occur when the patient still requires medical attention and must happen so suddenly that the patient did not have adequate time to find an appropriate provider to take over their care. Lastly, the patient has to suffer harm as a result of the abandonment. Patient abandonment can occur when a doctor fails to address a patient’s concerns, schedule a follow-up appointment, or is unreasonably unresponsive.Seeking Damages for Harm Caused by Patient Abandonment
Patient abandonment can cause grave harm, and parties who suffer losses when their doctors suddenly end their treatment relationship can often pursue medical malpractice claims. Typically, as doctors rarely intend to hurt their patients, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will set forth a medical negligence claim against the defendant.
In Maryland, a plaintiff asserting medical negligence must first establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to provide treatment that meets the standard of care, which is the care a competent practitioner working in the same practice area as the defendant would offer in a similar situation. Next, the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the defendant breached the standard of care. In other words, if the standard of care requires a doctor to clearly advise a patient that they were ending the relationship prior to terminating care and the defendant failed to do so, it may constitute a breach.
In most cases, the plaintiff will need to hire a medical expert to explain to the judge or jury what the standard of care requires and how the defendant failed to adhere to the standard. Finally, the plaintiff needs to prove that they suffered actual harm that was proximately caused by the defendant’s breach. In other words, the plaintiff must show that they would not have sustained losses if the defendant had complied with the standard of care. Establishing causation generally requires expert testimony as well.
A plaintiff that proves a defendant committed medical malpractice may be awarded damages for the cost of any medical treatment they needed due to the defendant’s negligence or will need in the future, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. They also generally will be granted compensation for the pain, mental anguish, and suffering they endured.Talk to an Experienced Baltimore Attorney
Doctors have a duty to provide their patients with thorough and competent care, and their duties extend throughout the course of the relationship. If they forsake their obligations while ending their affiliation with a patient, it may constitute grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim.
If you suffered losses due to patient abandonment, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your possible claims. The experienced Baltimore lawyers of Arfaa Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable outcomes in medical malpractice lawsuits, and if we represent you, we will work diligently to help you seek a successful outcome. We regularly represent people in medical malpractice cases in Baltimore, where our office is located. You can reach us by calling (410) 889-1850 or via our online form to set up a confidential and free consultation.