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Patient Abandonment - Home Health Care
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Elements of the Cause of Action for Abandonment
Each one of the following five elements should be present for a patient to experience a proper civil
reason for action for the tort of abandonment:
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1. Medical care treatment was unreasonably discontinued.
2. The termination of medical was contrary to the patient's will or minus the patient's knowledge.
3. The medical care provider failed to arrange for care by another appropriate skilled physician.
4. The health care provider needs to have reasonably foreseen that harm to the patient would arise
in the termination of the care (proximate cause).
5. The individual actually suffered harm or loss because of the discontinuance of care.
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Physicians, nurses, and also other health care professionals have an ethical, and also a legal, duty in
order to avoid abandonment of patients. The health care professional carries a duty to give his / her
patient all necessary attention as long as the case required it and should not leave the patient in a
critical stage without giving reasonable notice or making suitable arrangements to the attendance of
Abandonment through the Physician
When a physician undertakes treatments for a patient, treatment must continue until the patient's
circumstances will no longer warrant the treatment, health related conditions and the patient
mutually agree to end the treatment by that physician, or the patient discharges the doctor.
Moreover, the physician may unilaterally terminate the partnership and withdraw from treating that
patient only if he or she provides the patient proper notice of their intent to withdraw and an
opportunity to obtain proper substitute care.
In the house health setting, the physician-patient relationship doesn't terminate merely just because
a patient's care shifts in its location from the hospital for 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 for
the patient. Virtually every situation 'in which homecare is approved by Medicare, Medicaid, or an
insurer will be one inch which the patient's 'needs for care have continued. The physician-patient
relationship that existed from the hospital will continue unless it has been formally terminated by
notice on the patient and a reasonable attempt to refer the patient to an alternative appropriate
physician. Otherwise, the doctor will retain their duty toward the person when the patient is
discharged through the hospital to the home. Failure to adhere to through on the part of the doctor
will constitute the tort of abandonment if your patient is injured consequently. This abandonment
may expose the doctor, the hospital, and the home health agency to liability for that tort of
The attending physician from the hospital should ensure that a proper referral was designed to a
physician who will be in charge of the home health patient's care while it is being delivered by 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 get the
patient's care assumed by another physician, the sufferer must fully understand this variation, and it
should be carefully documented.
As backed up by case law, the sorts of actions that will result in liability for abandonment of the
patient will include:
• premature launch of the patient by the physician
• failure in the physician to provide proper instructions before discharging the individual
• the statement from the physician to the patient that this physician will no longer treat the patient
• refusal of the physician to respond to calls or to further attend the individual
• the physician's leaving the patient after surgery or unable to follow up on postsurgical care.
Generally, abandonment doesn't happen if the physician responsible for the patient arranges for a
substitute physician to look at his or her place. This transformation may occur because of vacations,
relocation with the physician, illness, distance from the patient's home, or retirement in the
physician. As long as care by an appropriately trained physician, sufficiently knowledgeable of the
patient's special conditions, if any, has been arranged, the courts in most cases not find that
abandonment has occurred. Even where a patient refuses to spend the money for care or is can not
pay for the care, the physician is not at liberty to terminate their bond unilaterally. The physician
must still do something to have the patient's care assumed by another in order to give a sufficiently
reasonable period of time to locate another ahead of ceasing to provide care.
Although the majority of the cases discussed concern the physician-patient relationship, as pointed
out above previously, the same principles affect all health care providers. Furthermore, since the
care rendered with the home health agency is provided pursuant to a physician's plan of care, even
if the patient sued health related conditions for abandonment as a result of actions (or inactions of
your home health agency's staff), the physician may seek indemnification in the home health
Similar principles to those that apply to physicians connect with the home health professional as
well as the home health provider. A home health agency, because the direct provider of choose to
the homebound patient, may be held to the same legal obligation and duty to supply care that
addresses the patient's needs as is the doctor. Furthermore, there may be both a legal and an ethical
obligation to keep delivering care, when the patient has no alternatives. A moral obligation may still
exist for the patient even though the home health provider has fulfilled all legal obligations.
Each time a home health provider furnishes treatment into a patient, the duty to keep providing
care to the person is a duty owed through the agency itself rather than by the individual professional
who might be the employee or the contractor of the agency. The home health provider won't have a
duty to continue giving the same nurse, therapist, or aide to the patient throughout the course of