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Elements of the Cause of Action for Abandonment
Each of the following five elements must be present for a patient to possess a proper civil cause of action for the tort of abandonment:
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1. Medical treatment was unreasonably discontinued.
2. The termination of health care was contrary to the patient’s will or with no patient’s knowledge.
3. Medical care provider still did not arrange for care by another appropriate skilled health care provider.
4. The health care provider really should have reasonably foreseen that injury to the patient would arise through the termination of the care (proximate cause).
5. The sufferer actually suffered harm or loss on account of the discontinuance of care.
Physicians, nurses, and also other health care professionals have an ethical, as well as a legal, duty to prevent abandonment of patients. The health care professional has a duty to give his or her patient all necessary attention so long as the case required it and should not leave the patient within a critical stage without giving reasonable notice or making suitable arrangements for your attendance of another.
Abandonment by the Physician
When a physician undertakes treating a patient, treatment must continue until the patient’s circumstances no longer warrant the treatment, health related conditions and the patient mutually agree to end the treatment by that physician, or the patient discharges problems. Moreover, the physician may unilaterally terminate their bond and withdraw from treating that patient only if he or she provides the patient proper notice of his / her intent to withdraw plus an opportunity to obtain proper substitute care.
In the house health setting, the physician-patient relationship won’t terminate merely just because a patient’s care shifts in their location from the hospital to the home. If the patient continues to need medical services, supervised health care, therapy, or other home health services, the attending physician should ensure that he or she was properly discharged his or her-duties on the patient. Virtually every situation ‘in which homecare is approved by Medicare, Medicaid, or perhaps an insurer will be one inch which the patient’s ‘needs for care have continued. The physician-patient relationship that existed in the hospital will continue unless it’s been formally terminated by notice to the patient and a reasonable try and refer the patient to an alternative appropriate physician. Otherwise, problems will retain his / her duty toward the person when the patient is discharged in the hospital to the home. Failure to adhere to through on the part of health related conditions will constitute the tort of abandonment when the patient is injured consequently. This abandonment may expose the doctor, the hospital, and the home health agency to liability for the tort of abandonment.
The attending physician within the hospital should make sure that a proper referral was created to a physician who will be to blame for the home health patient’s care though it may be being delivered through the home health provider, unless the doctor intends to continue to supervise that home care personally. Even more important, when the hospital-based physician arranges to get the patient’s care assumed by another physician, the individual must fully understand this change, and it should be carefully documented.
As supported by case law, the types of actions that will cause liability for abandonment of your patient will include:
• premature discharge of the patient by the physician
• failure from the physician to provide proper instructions before discharging the individual
• the statement with the physician to the patient how the physician will no longer treat the sufferer
• refusal of the physician to reply to calls or to further attend the person
• the physician’s leaving the patient after surgery or failing to follow up on postsurgical care.
Generally, abandonment doesn’t happen if the physician responsible for the patient arranges for the substitute physician to take his or her place. This variation may occur because of vacations, relocation from the physician, illness, distance from your patient’s home, or retirement of the physician. As long as care by an appropriately trained physician, sufficiently knowledgeable in the patient’s special conditions, or no, has been arranged, the courts will usually not find that abandonment has occurred. Even when a patient refuses to spend on the care or is not able to pay for the care, health related conditions is not at liberty to terminate their bond unilaterally. The physician must still make a plan to have the patient’s care assumed by another as well as to give a sufficiently reasonable time period to locate another just before ceasing to provide care.
Although a lot of the cases discussed concern the physician-patient relationship, as outlined above previously, the same principles sign up for all health care providers. Furthermore, for the reason that care rendered from the home health agency is provided pursuant to a physician’s plan of care, get the job done patient sued problems for abandonment due to the actions (or inactions of the property health agency’s staff), the physician may seek indemnification from your home health provider.