Terminating the Physician-Patient Relationship

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This continues our series of articles addressing the many medicolegal aspects that impact the practice of dermatology. Because the physician-patient relationship is the cornerstone of every medical malpractice action, the proper termination of that relationship is very important.


A format of an initial discussion of legal concepts followed by hypothetical and a review of actual cases was chosen to enhance interactive learning. The subject matter is based on a review of medicolegal literature and actual recorded case law.


Once a physician-patient relationship has been established, improper termination of that relationship may constitute abandonment.


Any termination of the physician-patient relationship must be reasonable in view of the patients' access to alternate medical care and medical problems and should be properly communicated to the patient.

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