Some patients do require some special attention, such as those who do not speak English or those with social problems who find that they are unable to show up for their follow up appointments (Martin et al, 2005).It is important for doctors to anticipate these issues and to work with these patients in order to ensure compliance; there is, however a limit to what physicians can do, for instance, some patients might not have stable addresses or working telephones (Martin et al, 2005). In addition, physicians are often overworked struggling to see as many patients as possible and therefore do not have any ethical duty to hire additional staff to keep track of patients. Doctors only do so much by ensuring that patients have a clear image of the dangers of not keeping up with the provided treatment plan and can only document this conversation as proof that they did indeed follow up (Lerner, 2014).This patient is as liable as the physician especially in the instance that he out rightly refuses to make recommended changes to his lifestyle, does not fill out prescription as directed or to take the medicine as told. This is frustrating for the physician since it exposes the physician to instances where he is practicing in the dark (Lerner, 2014). Subsequent care carried out on the patient is often carried out driven by an assumption that compliance of previous instructions has been adhered to. All this does is to add on risk for both the physician as well as the patient. A physician is therefore not liable to continue providing care to the patient especially in the instance that risks have been outlined with regard to not following the treatment plan. Most importantly, not adhering to the treatment plan can lead to a breakdown in the relationship formed. A Physician Is Immune from Liability When a Patients Actions Contribute as Much to His Own Harm as the Physicians.
Furrow, B., Greaney, T., Johnson, S (2013). Health Law: Cases, Materials and Problems. (7th Ed). Minnesota: West Academic Publishing
Hoffman, J (July 14, 2011). Do Non-compliant patients really sue their doctors? Retrieved March 20, 2015 from:
Lerner, B.H (November 13, 2014). When Patients Don’t Follow Up. The New York Times, Retrieved March 20, 2015 from:
Martin, L.R., Williams, S.L., Haskard, K.B., DiMatteo, M.R (2005). "The challenge of patient adherence," Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management,1(3) p.189-195
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