California Medical Malpractice Laws: Patient Abandonment and Negligence Cases
For the most part, a doctor-patient relationship will be terminated once the patient’s illness or medical condition has been successfully managed. There are certain occasions, however, that the physician will conclude the relationship before the patient’s medical condition has been stabilized. Unfortunately, an untimely doctor-patient termination can have serious consequences for the patient’s health. For the negligent medical caregiver, there could be legal consequences.
Legal Elements Needed in a Case
In the State of California, a patient that has been injured as a result of a negligent medical practitioner has the legal right to file a claim against the careless professional, and this applies to patient abandonment. When patient abandonment occurs, the professional has terminated the relationship with the patient without giving him or her a reasonable reason, without giving alternative medical options, and while the patient is still in need of medical aid.
Under California law, in order to have a valid patient abandonment claim, the patient will need to demonstrate that the medical professional has breached the medical standard of care. To have a successful claim, a patient will need to demonstrate the following:
- There was an existing doctor-patient relationship.
- The medical professional terminated the relationship.
- The medical professional did not provide the patient with a notice of termination and an alternative medical recommendation.
- The patient suffered preventable harm as a result of the untimely termination of the doctor-patient relationship.
In the State of California, it is the medical professional’s duty to provide the patient with competent medical care. When the medical professional has failed to provide reasonable care or provide an alternative care to the patient, the medical professional has breached his or her duty of care.
When Cessation of Medical Care Does Not Involve Medical Malpractice
It is important to know that there are many justifiable situations where a doctor is in his or her right to cease medical care and not be suspect of patient abandonment. Usually, if a medical professional can demonstrate that he or she abided by their professional standard of care, they will likely not be charged with medical negligence. Common examples of such cases can include the following:
When the patient’s medical condition has evolved to a condition outside the area of expertise of the medical professional, the doctor is in his or her right to terminate the relationship. On the contrary, if a doctor decides to practice medicine outside of his or her area of expertise, this will likely be an ethical violation.
A medical professional has the right to end the relationship if he or she lacks the necessary equipment and/or professional ability to properly care for a patient.
When a patient has violated the doctor’s policies, regulations, or rules, the doctor can terminate the doctor-patient relationship.
Any other situations where continuing treatment would result in the violation of the doctor’s code of ethics and/or duty of care.
Obtain the Legal Support of a Professional Attorney
If you have reason to believe that you have been injured as a result of your doctor’s untimely termination of the doctor-patient relationship, consider seeking the legal support of a knowledgeable attorney to determine what steps to take.
The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP have many years of dedicated experience helping those that have been injured as a result of negligent medical professionals. The firm understands that when it comes to medical malpractice, injuries can often result in a lifetime of grievance. If you have been injured because of a careless medical professional, obtain the legal support that will help you win your case.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.