Your Pain, Your Rights: Dealing with Your Physician and Your Hospital

Her HMO balked at the cost of fentynl and suggested that she was not really hurting. A physician at the clinic told her she was drug seeking. A clinic pharmacist yelled at her when she came to pick up medications and told her not to come back for “her drugs.” It took an HMO appeal, a complaint to the state insurance commissioner, and filing a complaint in a local court to get her relief. A little over a year later, a re-evaluation started it all over again…

Abandonment is a tort (legal wrong) that may give you cause for a legal action against your physician [or pharmacist?]. To prove abandonment you usually have to show (a) a physician-patient relationship; (b) that was terminated or neglected by the physician and (c) that caused you harm. An attorney can advise you about your state’s requirements. Additionally, there is a tort called “infliction of severe emotional distress,” which requires (a) an action taken by the defendant (b) which was reasonably foreseeable to cause severe distress; and (c) that it did in fact cause severe emotional distress. Some states require a physical injury, but there is some precedent that recognizes pain as such. A growing body of medical evidence that untreated pain has serious physical consequences would substantiate this view…

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