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What Constitutes Patient Abandonment?

If you are refused medical care at a hospital, you may be able to hold them responsible for any injuries related to the refusal. However; this is not true in all conditions, and there are cases where a hospital can refuse you medical care without it being a case of medical malpractice. Here are some of those expectations:

Insufficient Skills

A doctor who isn't qualified to give you the right medical treatment can legally refuse you service without it being a case of medical malpractice. Consider a case where you have been shot by a robber, you need surgery on your head, and the nearest hospital only has a podiatrist. In this case, the podiatrist is within their rights to refuse you service, particularly if they are convinced that operating on you might do you more harm than good.

Inadequate Resources

A hospital without the resources to cater to your medical condition also has the right to refuse you service. This is particularly true if your medical condition is so serious that you won't get better (or might even worsen) if you don't get the right treatment. Continuing with the gunshot to the head example, imagine going to the nearest clinic and realizing that they don't have an operating room. If surgery on your head is the only way to help you, then the clinic isn't required to give you the treatment you deserve because they aren't capable of doing so. 

Noncompliance with Instructions

A doctor is also within their rights to refuse you treatment if you can't follow their instructions and your noncompliance can interfere with the treatment or even trigger fatal complications. Take an example where you have been ordered to avoid alcohol and adhere to a strict schedule of bed rest in the days leading up to your surgery. If you fail to follow the advice, the hospital or doctor handling your case has the right to refuse you service.

Inappropriate Behavior

A hospital may also refuse you treatment and not attract medical malpractice accusations if you can't let go of your inappropriate behavior at the hospital. Examples of such inappropriate behavior include fighting with others or making unwanted sexual advances on others at the facility. In such a case, your behavior may disrupt usual hospital activities and interfere with the treatment of other patients so you may be asked to leave.

As you can case see, refusal of medical care may or may not be a case of medical malpractice. If you have suffered injuries after a refusal, consult a personal injury attorney to analyze the circumstances of the refusal to determine whether or not you have a valid case.