Visitor Question

Doctor refusing to treat because I won’t take meds with serious side effects?

Submitted By: S (USA)

I called my doctor’s office asking for an appointment to see her, because I had an infection that was not clearing up. She was aware of the infection and had given me antibiotics previously. She refused to set up an appointment for treatment, and told her nurse to tell me that she couldn’t do anything else for me.

She never even addressed the pain in my back knowing that I had previously had a spinal fusion. Her nurse told me that the reason I had the infection was because I was overweight.

I wound up going to the local emergency room two days later, on the weekend, when the infection traveled to the surface of my skin and caused an abscess on the outside of my body, as well as the one on the inside. The emergency room staff lanced the abscess and did a CAT scan that showed obvious pockets of infection.

I was called the following week by my PCP’s office wanting to set up an appointment to address the fiasco of her nurse telling me that they could do nothing for me.

I took my mother as a witness and had the meeting with the doctor.

I explained that I had to see the doctor at the ER, and my doctor told me that they didn’t handle that kind of procedure in the office anyway, and that I wound up at the right place that weekend for treatment. When I questioned her about refusal to treat me for my back pain, she stated that that was her fault and that she didn’t address the back pain on purpose.

When she realized that I had abscesses and that no one had tried to address the issue, including her, she referred me to a surgeon. The surgeon did some tests and found that I had a fistula, as well as a fissure in my intestines.

I had to have 5 different procedures to lance and drain the two abscesses and repair the damage done by the infection. This is a complex case and I understand that, but now she is refusing to send in my paperwork to the insurance company for a stricture to be removed from my intestines that is causing a partial blockage from scar tissue.

She is refusing on the basis that I won’t take medicine that has in the past caused me to develop neuro-cardiogenic syncope. She refuses to do the paperwork to have a surgery that a specialist has deemed medically necessary.

I have filed complaints with my insurance company, and have endured other bad treatment from my doctor that I am not including in this post. I am at a loss as to what to do. Any perspective you can give would be appreciated. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear S,

Often a physician will refuse additional appointments when he or she believes there is nothing more they can do to improve the medical condition of the patient. Moreover, physicians will refuse to see a patient when they believe the patient is being uncooperative.

In your case, it appears you wanted your physician to address your back pain, but are refusing the meds she prescribed. Moreover, taking your mother to be a witness may have been considered by your physician as passive-aggressive behavior. This type of behavior can result in a physician doing everything possible to distance him or herself from the patient.

If your physician won’t treat you, there’s really nothing you can do. Basically the only time a doctor is required to treat someone is if they’re in immediate need of care.

Ask for copies of your medical records. With your medical records in hand, seek one or more additional medical opinions from separate physicians. You should be able to find one to assist not only with your medical issues, but your insurance claim as well.

Learn more here: Recourse for Medical Treatment Denial

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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