Is medical abandonment considered medical malpractice?

Many types of medical malpractice are obvious; a doctor fails to diagnose a serious condition, harms a patient during surgery, etc. However, medical abandonment is a type of medical malpractice that is much more passive, and can be harder to understand. When medical abandonment leads to patient harm, though, malpractice has occurred.

What is medical abandonment?

Medical abandonment occurs when a patient, who is in the critical stages of care, is turned away from the doctor without having other care in place. In other words, when a doctor abandons a patient in a time of medical need—and does not ensure that the patient will have continuing care from another healthcare professional—the doctor has medically abandoned the patient.

The Dangers of Medical Abandonment

The most obvious danger of medical abandonment is that a patient who is in need of immediate care will not receive it, therefore resulting in patient harm. For example, a cancer patient needs access to medical advice and treatment. If a doctor terminates the doctor-patient relationship at the critical stages of treatment, the patient may not have sufficient amount of time to locate other healthcare services, resulting in imminent harm.

How to Prove Medical Abandonment

There are four elements to proving medical malpractice. These are that: a doctor-patient relationship existed; that the patent was abandoned when the patient needed medical care; that the patient did not have time to find replacement healthcare services; and that he patient suffered harm as a direct result of the healthcare provider’s abandonment. If the four components can be established, the doctor/hospital will be liable for the patient’s harm.

Filing a Claim for Medical Abandonment

A patient who is the victim of medical abandonment can recover damages for pain and suffering, healthcare expenses, future healthcare expenses, and lost wages. If the medical abandonment results in death, the personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim for damages on the behalf of beneficiaries. The time limit for filing a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania is two years.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

A medical malpractice attorney can review your case, and help you to understand whether or not your medical abandonment claim constitutes malpractice. If it does, an attorney can guide you through the legal processes for recovering damages. To meet with the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC today at no cost, call us at 215-642-2335 now.