My Doctor Might Drop Me!

Yes, he might. She might. It’s a good threat and some providers even go so far as to write letters stating they have terminated you.

Your midwife might, as well.

However, it’s not in their ethical best interests and sometimes, they can be liable for it legally. BirthAction.org will be posting state-by-state regulations regarding patient care termination but here’s the American Medical Association’s take on it:

Opinion 8.115 – Termination of the Physician-Patient Relationship

Physicians have an obligation to support continuity of care for their patients. While physicians have the option of withdrawing from a case, they cannot do so without giving notice to the patient, the relatives, or responsible friends sufficiently long in advance of withdrawal to permit another medical attendant to be secured. (I, VI)

Issued June 1996 (formerly included in Opinion 8.11).

(Accessed by BirthAfterCesarean.com at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion8115.page on 1/21/2013)

The Texas Medical Association states: (http://rightnow.texmed.org/ci/fattach/get/18682/) states:

Q: May a physician lawfully terminate his or her relationship with a patient at any

time?

A: Abandonment of a patient may result in civil liability for the physician. Abandonment is

usually defined as “the unilateral severance of the professional relationship without

reasonable notice at a time when there is still the necessity of continuing medical attention.”

1

Proof of actionable abandonment requires a showing that the physician failed to provide “an

adequate medical attendant” and also failed to give adequate notice.

2 Finally, as in any

negligence action, the plaintiff must prove that this breach of duty was the cause of his or her

injuries or damages.

 

(Thank you to Felicia for her help in searching for these documents!)

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