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20 Nov 2015


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Elements of the Cause of Action for Abandonment

Every one of the following five elements must be present for a patient to experience a proper civil cause of action for the tort of abandonment:

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1. Healthcare treatment was unreasonably discontinued.

2. The termination of medical was contrary to the patient's will or without the patient's knowledge.

3. The care provider did not arrange for care by another appropriate skilled physician.

4. The health care provider needs to have reasonably foreseen that problems for the patient would arise from the termination of the care (proximate cause).

5. The individual actually suffered harm or loss as a result of the discontinuance of care.

Physicians, nurses, as well as other health care professionals have an ethical, and also a legal, duty to avoid abandonment of patients. The care professional features a duty to give his / her patient all necessary attention provided that the case required it and cannot leave the patient within a critical stage without giving reasonable notice or making suitable arrangements to the attendance of another.

Abandonment through the Physician

When a physician undertakes treatment of a patient, treatment must continue until the patient's circumstances not warrant the treatment, the physician and the patient mutually consent to end the treatment by that physician, or the patient discharges the doctor. 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 her or his intent to withdraw with an opportunity to obtain proper substitute care.

In the home health setting, the physician-patient relationship will not terminate merely just because a patient's care shifts rolling around in its location from the hospital towards the home. If the patient continues to need medical services, supervised medical care, therapy, or other home health services, the attending physician should make certain 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 even an insurer will be one inch which the patient's 'needs for care have continued. The physician-patient relationship that existed inside the hospital will continue unless it is often formally terminated by notice to the patient and a reasonable make an effort to refer the patient to a new appropriate physician. Otherwise, health related conditions will retain his or her duty toward the individual when the patient is discharged through the hospital to the home. Failure to follow through on the part of the physician will constitute the tort of abandonment if your patient is injured therefore. This abandonment may expose problems, the hospital, and the home health agency to liability for your tort of abandonment.

The attending physician inside the hospital should make sure that a proper referral is built to a physician who will be responsible for the home health patient's care even though it is being delivered by the home health provider, unless problems intends to continue to supervise that homecare personally. Even more important, when the hospital-based physician arranges to have the patient's care assumed by another physician, the person must fully understand this change, and it should be carefully documented.

As sustained by case law, the types of actions that will result in liability for abandonment of a patient will include:

• premature turmoil the patient by the physician

• failure with the physician to provide proper instructions before discharging the individual

• the statement through the physician to the patient the physician will no longer treat the person

• refusal of the physician to answer calls or to further attend the sufferer

• the physician's leaving the patient after surgery or unable to follow up on postsurgical care.

Generally, abandonment doesn't happen if the physician to blame for the patient arranges for the substitute physician to adopt his or her place. This transformation may occur because of vacations, relocation in the physician, illness, distance through the patient's home, or retirement with the physician. As long as care by an appropriately trained physician, sufficiently knowledgeable of the patient's special conditions, if any, has been arranged, the courts will often not find that abandonment has occurred. Even in which a patient refuses to pay for 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 or to give a sufficiently reasonable stretch of time to locate another ahead of ceasing to provide care.

Although a lot of the cases discussed concern the physician-patient relationship, as pointed out previously, the same principles connect with all health care providers. Furthermore, for the reason that care rendered by the home health agency is provided pursuant to a physician's plan of care, whether or not the patient sued the physician for abandonment due to the actions (or inactions of the property health agency's staff), the doctor may seek indemnification from your home health provider.


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