Medical Abandonment Is A Form Of Medical Malpractice

Some forms of medical malpractice are obvious: a doctor leaves a scalpel behind in your abdomen after a surgery. A nurse erroneously gives your child 100 times the amount of medication that was prescribed. A medical professional shrugs off your cancerous mole as “nothing.” However, some forms of medical malpractice, such as medical abandonment, can be much more subtle.

What is medical abandonment? Very simply, medical abandonment is when a doctor or medical professional ends a relationship with a patient who requires treatment without making certain that they will have continuing care. In cases where patients need immediate or continuing medical attention, doctors and hospitals are responsible for ensuring that their patient is treated in a timely an appropriate fashion, either by them or by someone else. If a medical professional neglects this duty, he or she could be sued for medical malpractice.

What are some examples of medical abandonment?

•    A doctor gives no notice before terminating a relationship with a patient – and the patient does not have sufficient time to find another doctor to continue treatment.
•    A doctor does not assist a patient in finding continuing care when informing the patient that they cannot be treated by the present professional.
•    A doctor leaves a patient in the care of another medical professional that is not qualified to carry out treatment of the patient.
•    A doctor-patient relationship is discontinued without reason during a critical treatment period for the patient.
•    A doctor-patient relationship was discontinued against the patient’s wishes and resulted in harm or injury to the patient.

More specifically, one example of medical abandonment may be if an obstetrician who was overseeing a labor and delivery left the hospital without turning the patient over to another qualified doctor and without making the woman’s medical history and treatment needs known.

Do you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of medical abandonment? Find out more about your case today by speaking with an Indiana medical malpractice attorney about your story.
James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller