Was my husband a victim of patient abandonment?
My husband was discharged from his pain management doctor because he could not get time off work to come in to leave a urine specimen. He was given only 24 hrs notice to comply or risk being discharged. He has had to take time off of work due to another unrelated issue and could not miss anymore "unscheduled" time off.
He attempted to explain the situation and was sent a letter 1 week later notifying him that he was being discharged from the practice. His f/u was only 2 weeks away from the date of the DEMAND to come in for the random urine screening. He is not a "druggy" nor has a history of "drug abuse".
This physician will not refill his meds or see him regarding his recent imaging studies. He has been left to suffer through withdrawals due to the fact that the medications prescribed to him are addicting and he is now physically dependent.
According to my research, they have to give him a reasonable amount of time to secure another physician, otherwise it is considered patient abandonment. We received the discharge letter only a few days prior to his scheduled f/u appointment, which was involuntarily cancelled.
Don't these doctors have an obligation to give him time to find a different doctor? Or at the very least provide him with enough medication to last until he is able to establish with another provider?
Is it unreasonable, on their behalf, to ask my husband to risk his job to come in randomly for drug tests and pill counts? Shouldn't he have been given more time or notice to make arrangements at his office so that he could comply with their request? Do we have any legal options? Thank you for your perspective.
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ANSWER for "Was my husband a victim of patient abandonment?":
Alexis (Phoenix, AZ):
If the doctor suspects a patient is abusing pain meds, and as a result the patient has become addicted to the drugs, the doctor has the right to dismiss the patient.
Reading "between the lines," it may appear your husband may have avoided going in to give his urine specimen. Of course, that’s just speculation. He also may have had a genuine reason for not being able to comply with the pain management clinic’s request. If so, your husband complied with all requests, and followed all other orders of the doctor and clinic.
If the doctor, through his clinic, did not give your husband more than a day or so to find another doctor, then there may be an issue of patient abandonment. If that's the case, it would be best to speak with a local attorney who can advise you more specifically on your options.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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