Is medical abandonment medical malpractice?

Is medical abandonment medical malpractice?

Medical Abandonment in OhioWhat is Medical Abaondonment?

Medical abandonment happens when a Cleveland doctor or other treating health care professional terminates the relationship withthe patient at an inappropriate time or in a negligent manner. The lack of care must lead to serious harm or worsen the patient's medical condition.Generally, medical abandonment qualifies for relief from a medical malpractice claim. The U.S. Appellate Court defined medical abandonment in the case Hill vs. Medlantic Health Care Group (993A.2d 314 (D.C. 2007)) as:

"…the termination of the professional relationship between the physician and patient at an unreasonable time or without affording the patient the opportunity to procure an equally qualified replacement."

Abandonment can occur in a variety of different situations. For example, if a doctor in an emergency room leaves his or her post without adequately informing the next doctor of a patient's condition, and the patient's health declines as a result of the lack of knowledge, the patient may have a medical abandonment case.

What are the elements of a medical abandonment claim?

In order to win a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff needs to prove that the health care professional violated the standard of care and that the violation led to the plaintiff's injuries. The standard of care means the level and type of care another doctor would've provided in similar circumstances.

Like the factors important to other medical malpractice claims, medical abandonment cases have specific elements as well. The plaintiffs need to prove:

  • a duty to continue care of the patient;
  • the doctor ended the relationship improperly and without a plan for the patient to continue receiving treatment; and
  • the patient suffered harm and damages from the abandonment.

Who can file a malpractice claim?

Usually in a medical malpractice claim, the ability to pursue legal action lies with the injured party. If he or she is incapacitated, then someone with power of attorney can bring the action on his or her behalf. Wrongful death lawsuits alsocan be filed against healthcare professionals if the abandonment led to death. In Ohio, only children, spouses and parents can benefit from a wrongful death action.

What is good evidence in a malpractice claim?

Any evidence that proves that the plaintiff had a dangerous condition at the time of the abandonment and that the treating health care professional knew of the dangerous condition is helpful in proving the abandonment claim. Plaintiffs also need to show that the lack of care directly caused the plaintiff's injuries. Hospital records, medical records, medical history, witness testimony and expert testimony can be used in an abandonment case.

Often plaintiffs need to hire an expert witness to testify that the treating health care professional violated the standard of care. In order for an expert to make this determination, he or she needs to gather and review records from the hospital or other facility about the treatment the patient received.

People who believe they've suffered harm through medical abandonment should consult a medical malpractice attorney. Ryan, LLP in Cleveland can obtain and review the appropriate medical records and help patients pursue a medical malpractice claim. Contact our office at 877-864-9495 to speak with an attorney about your treatment today.

Get the Justice You Deserve with our experienced & Free Legal Consultation