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Medical Abandonment

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James S.

New member
Michigan: Hello, I am 57 years old and am disabled due to an elevator accident at work about 13 years ago.
I was treated the day of my injury, treated in the days following by my family doctor , an M.D., received numerous x-rays, an MRI and have been evaluated by the governments own doctors to validate my claim. I also was awarded my disability by a Federal Judge who heard my case. All parties agree that I am permanently disabled.
My doctor and I discussed my options and there were only two of them. One option was surgery, which my doctor strongly advised against, stating that the outcome had a 97% chance of making my pain worse. The second option was to prescribe muscle relaxers, steroids and painkillers to help reduce my suffering. We both agreed on painkillers and muscle relaxants as a long term solution so that I might continue to have some quality of life. I have been prescribed pain medication for years and I have followed every prescriptions directions and have taken them responsibly. I have never overdosed, mixed them with alcohol or asked for more than I was prescribed. My problem is my family doctor has taken a emergency medical leave and has abandoned me without finding another doctor to treat me. Her office tells me that they have no idea when she is coming back and referred me to numerous doctors who according to them were "set to handle her patients". The first doctor was 120 miles round trip for me only to find out that he wouldn't even see me because "he does not prescribe pain medication". Not only that but he also doesn't accept my insurance. His office gave me a list of numbers to call for other doctors who could help me. The first number was a lawn and garden center. the second was disconnected. The third was a private phone number to an unknown male and the 4th was to rally's, a restaurant chain. When I called my family doctors office back the next day, they had no excuse for what happened. They gave me a list of 3 other doctors "who would help me". the first doctor didn't take my insurance. the second did not accept new patients and the third would only see me with my doctors prior approval and would not be able to see me for 3 months. My insurance company, Meridian, is unable to locate a doctor as the ones they have suggested do not give out any painkillers due to the new CDC Guidelines. It has been over 2 months now since I have been seen by a doctor. I have had to go to the emergency room for a 2 day supply of medicine at a cost of $90.00. I have been in unbearable pain, unable to walk, fallen down twice and cannot get any sleep because of the medication withdrawals. I have gained at least 20 pounds because all i do is eat to try and take my mind off of my pain but to no avail. Isn't my doctor obligated to find someone else who will treat me or is it legal for her to just abandon me? Everywhere I call for help I hear about some new law that prevents doctors from being able to prescribe painkillers, but my understanding is that there is no law, only a recommendation guideline handed out by the CDC to reduce the amount of painkillers being given. Please help me with some advice as to what my rights are. Thank You.
 


FlyingRon

Senior Member
You should contact your insurer to find suitable doctors who are in your plan and then have them order your records from the existing provider.
There is no obligation that any doctor prescribe you pain killers whether you are an established patient or not.

You didn't indicate the name of your state so we can't give a precise answer, but in most cases what you describe wouldn't be considered "abandonment."
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
You should contact your insurer to find suitable doctors who are in your plan and then have them order your records from the existing provider.
There is no obligation that any doctor prescribe you pain killers whether you are an established patient or not.

You didn't indicate the name of your state so we can't give a precise answer, but in most cases what you describe wouldn't be considered "abandonment
."
I disagree with that statement.
 

quincy

Senior Member
The state is Michigan.

Although your doctor should have referred you to another doctor or had a doctor already lined up to take over her patients in the event she could not continue with patient care for some reason, she didn't. It is now up to you to find a replacement doctor.

I agree with FlyingRon that you should contact your insurer to find doctors in your area who will examine you and prescribe the necessary pain medications, if the doctor agrees with your former doctor's plan for treatment. The new doctor(s) you see might want to try a different treatment that does not rely so heavily on drugs.

Good luck.
 

Gail in Georgia

Senior Member
It is true you may have better luck finding a physician by working through your insurer. However, neither your insurer nor your original physician has control over whether an appointment with a new physician might take 3 months.

I understand your frustration regarding not being able to get pain medication. When my partner was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer his pulmonologist refused to provide any prescription pain medication; it was not until he was able to see an oncologist that he received a prescription for such. Bill passed away at home the next day from his disease (and NOT from overdosing on this medication).

Gail
 

quincy

Senior Member
Here is a link to Michigan's law, which requires retention of patient records but not retention of patients:

And here is a link to Tierney v. University of Michigan Regents, a 2003 patient abandonment case:

If you were provided notice that your doctor would no longer able to treat you and you were given time to find another doctor, it is unlikely to be found patient abandonment.
 
Last edited:

Just Blue

Senior Member
OP state s Mich. It's right at the begining of the post. :)
You should contact your insurer to find suitable doctors who are in your plan and then have them order your records from the existing provider.
There is no obligation that any doctor prescribe you pain killers whether you are an established patient or not.

You didn't indicate the name of your state so we can't give a precise answer, but in most cases what you describe wouldn't be considered "abandonment."
 

quincy

Senior Member
I mentioned that - and provided links to Michigan law and a relevant Michigan case. ;)

I should add that an attorney in James' area of Michigan can be contacted for a personal review, to determine better if a claim of patient abandonment/medical malpractice can be supported.
 
Last edited:

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Note, why it may give some financial remuneration if it is shown to be successful, it won't succeed in getting him the drugs he's after. There's no obligation that a doctor (even short of abandonment) prescribe pain medication. In fact, those with a shred of ethical responsibility won't just write a new patient who comes through the door saying they want them. They'll want to be convinced of the medical indication.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Note, why it may give some financial remuneration if it is shown to be successful, it won't succeed in getting him the drugs he's after. There's no obligation that a doctor (even short of abandonment) prescribe pain medication. In fact, those with a shred of ethical responsibility won't just write a new patient who comes through the door saying they want them. They'll want to be convinced of the medical indication.
Agreed.

Any new doctor will need time to review James' patient records, examine James, and evaluate whether the current treatment program James is on should be continued.

There is no guarantee that a new doctor will want to prescribe drugs or prescribe the same drugs that were prescribed by the first doctor.
 

James S.

New member
Here is a link to Michigan's law, which requires retention of patient records but not retention of patients:

And here is a link to Tierney v. University of Michigan Regents, a 2003 patient abandonment case:

If you were provided notice that your doctor would no longer able to treat you and you were given time to find another doctor, it is unlikely to be found patient abandonment.
Hello.
No, I was not told of her extended leave until I called to make an appt. for my medication refill. I was not given time to find another doctor before I was already out of my meds. Her office stated that there was a doctor handling her patients and I went to see him ( 120 mils round trip ) to find out he did not accept my insurance and he does not prescribe any pain meds.
 

James S.

New member
Agreed.

Any new doctor will need time to review James' patient records, examine James, and evaluate whether the current treatment program James is on should be continued.

There is no guarantee that a new doctor will want to prescribe drugs or prescribe the same drugs that were prescribed by the first doctor.
I agree. No doctor should ever write prescriptions he/ she is liable for without first conduction their own examination, but to date, every doctor I have seen will not even examine me, let alone prescribe any alternative medication or treatment, this is what i find so odd, that even without examining me, once they hear I am on Norco for pain management, they immediately shy away from me and suggest I see another doctor. Repeatedly, I hear the words the "new law" prevents me from writing prescriptions for pain meds. I am not aware of any such law. Are you ?
 

quincy

Senior Member
You might want to speak to a medical malpractice attorney in your area for a personal review.

When a doctor is unable (for whatever reason) to continue with patient care, the doctor or the doctor's office should notify patients and provide the patients with the contact information for other doctors to see.

A doctor should not leave a patient without necessary medications while the patient searches for replacement care.

Here is a link to Michigan's new drug laws: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/Lara/LARA_DHHS_Opioid_Laws_FAQ_05-02-2018_622175_7.pdf
 

James S.

New member
I know that you do not know me, but I have worked in the medical field as a medical assistant. I worked in hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric centers, emergency rooms, pre op, post op, etc and in my day we would have never treated someone who came to us for help the way that I have been treated. Even in situations where we could not give the patient exactly what he / she wanted, we always had an alternative choice for them. We never shrugged our shoulders and excused our lack of care quoting a guideline handed out by the CDC. I am ashamed to say I once dedicated my life to helping others only to be treated with such disdain and disrespect as I have in my current situation. I have seen more dirty looks from healthcare professionals in the past two months to last me a lifetime. Looks I don't deserve. I do not enjoy taking these pills. I receive no pleasure in any of this. I used to race cars, work on cars, enjoyed working hard and seeing the fruits of my labor. Now with this injury, I do good to spend a few hours in my garden, picking off dead flowers to help the new ones grow. Even though I had to sell my cars and tools, I still found some quality of life in doing little things, like gardening, but without my pain meds, i cannot even walk outside to the garden and enjoy that. So, I guess my quality of life drops another few degrees, and I will become bed ridden in pain. Oh the joys of summer.
 

quincy

Senior Member
The new drug laws will take some time for health care providers to fully understand - and they want to understand these laws fully because failure to comply can result in severe penalties, including license revocation.

I am sorry you are in pain. And I understand the expense of having to get treated at ERs.
 
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