Patient Abandonment - Home Health Care

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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 get a proper civil reason behind action for the tort of abandonment:

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1. Health care treatment was unreasonably discontinued.

2. The termination of medical care was contrary to the patient's will or minus the patient's knowledge.

3. The health care provider still did not arrange for care by another appropriate skilled medical doctor.

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

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

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

Abandonment by the Physician

When a physician undertakes treating a patient, treatment must continue until the patient's circumstances no more warrant the treatment, the physician and the patient mutually agree to end the treatment with that physician, or the patient discharges problems. Moreover, the physician may unilaterally terminate their bond and withdraw from treating that patient only when he or she provides the patient proper notice of his or her intent to withdraw as well as an opportunity to obtain proper substitute care.

In your house health setting, the physician-patient relationship won't terminate merely must be patient's care shifts in its location from the hospital on the home. If the patient is constantly on the need medical services, supervised medical, therapy, or other home health services, the attending physician should make certain that he or she was properly discharged his or her-duties to the patient. Virtually every situation 'in which homecare is approved by Medicare, Medicaid, or even an insurer will be one in which the patient's 'needs for care have continued. The physician-patient relationship that existed in the hospital will continue unless it is often formally terminated by notice towards the patient and a reasonable try to refer the patient to another appropriate physician. Otherwise, the physician will retain her or his duty toward the patient when the patient is discharged in the hospital to the home. Failure to check out through on the part of the physician will constitute the tort of abandonment if your patient is injured consequently. This abandonment may expose health related conditions, the hospital, and the home health agency to liability to the tort of abandonment.

The attending physician in the hospital should be sure that a proper referral is made to a physician who will be to blame for the home health patient's care though it may be being delivered with the home health provider, unless health related conditions intends to continue to supervise that home care personally. Even more important, when the hospital-based physician arranges to offer the patient's care assumed by another physician, the patient must fully understand this change, and it should be carefully documented.

As backed up by case law, the types of actions that will cause liability for abandonment of your patient will include:

• premature relieve the patient by the physician

• failure of the physician to provide proper instructions before discharging the patient

• the statement by the physician to the patient the physician will no longer treat the individual

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

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

Generally, abandonment doesn't occur if the physician to blame for the patient arranges for a substitute physician to look at his or her place. This variation may occur because of vacations, relocation with 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 with the patient's special conditions, or no, has been arranged, the courts will usually not find that abandonment has occurred. Even the place where a patient refuses to spend on the care or is unable to pay for the care, the physician is not at liberty to terminate the connection unilaterally. The physician must still take the appropriate steps to have the patient's care assumed by another as well as to give a sufficiently reasonable stretch of time to locate another before ceasing to provide care.

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