Patient abandonment ?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Patient abandonment ?

I have been treated by the same neurologist for the past 5 ears for multiple sclerosis as well as ADD. I call monthly for medication refills. This month the office told me my doctor is no longer associated with their group. The associated doctors are not taking my doctor’s patients. I had a MS episode over the last few days and had a lot of pain and was unable to walk. In the past I would call my doctor and he would prescribe steroids. That did not happen as he’s no longer around. It will take me some time to find another good doctor in the field of MS. I am fairly confident the doctor and or his partners cannot just leave me on my own to seek treatment from another doctor without cause or warning. I would like to know If I have a claim or not. If so, what type of lawyer would I need to retain?

Asked on December 12, 2016 under Malpractice Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Why do you think a doctor's practice cannot decline to take the patients of one of their members who is no longer with them? They can certainly refuse to take a former practice member's patients for any of a number of reasons, such as: 1) the departing doctor is practicing elsewhere and they don't want to get into a fight with him over who "owns" the patients; 2) they don't have the capacity, now that they are down a doctor, to cover more patients; 3) the doctor is no longer with the practice because of disputes over how he was treating his patients, and the remaining doctors do not want to take over patients whose treatment they disagree with; 4) there is some litigtation involving or against that doctor and by taking his patients, they could damage or become heavily involved in the litigation, etc.; or 5) the remaining doctors simply do not want to take on any additional patients and have to work order or longer than they currently are.
Doctors are private citizens: they have the right to not take on additional patients, even those of other practice/group members.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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