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A Doctor’s Legal Obligation To Administer Care

(Photo illustration.  Credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo illustration. Credit: Thinkstock)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - You think you hate going to the doctor? What happens when the doctor hates you?

A Connecticut hospital made headlines recently when it booted a patient who had been discharged but refused to leave. Calling her “belligerent” – by which the staff apparently meant they couldn’t stand her because, according to them, she abused the staff verbally and physically – they got a court order to allow them to remove her from the hospital and deposit her back at her house. Lest we are too quick to judge Patient Bedhog, we know we can be difficult when we aren’t feeling well.

Legally, does your doctor have the right to refuse to treat you?

If you’re having a medical emergency, a hospital is legally obligated to make sure you are medically stable before giving you the boot. As for doctors, no doctor has to take on a new patient but once a doctor-patient relationship has been established, the doctor has to follow a process in order to fire a patient, including notifying the patient, providing care until a new doctor is found, and helping to find you a new doctor.

Preferably one with more tolerance for your lousy personality.

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