Legal Question in Health Care Law in New Jersey

My ObGyn Refuses to continue to treat me during Pregnancy

I am new to NJ and am 5 months pregnant. I also have lupus and, although my pregnancy is going smoothly, am considered a ''high risk'' patient, and therefore have to go to a doctor who sees high risk patients.

Unfortunatly, the first office visit I had with an obgyn in NJ was a very negative experience so I was recommended to another obgyn in state. I have had about 3 or 4 visits with him and really trust him, like him, etc.

But at my last visit, he told me he could no longer see me as a patient b/c his medical malpractice rates were changing at the beginning of 2005. He said that since he was not the first doctor in NJ that I saw, that sends red flags to the insurance companies that I might be the ''type'' who would sue and that he must drop me a patient. He said my only choice is to go back to the first obgyn I saw. He also told me that, by law, he must continue as my doctor for 30 days after this ''notification''.

I really like this doctor and do not want to doubt his reasons, but I have never heard of anything like this. My question is: is this true? Is he really dropping me b/c med. malpractice insur. is so high in NJ and I pose this great liability? Is going back to the first clinic I went to my only option now?

Asked on 12/23/04, 1:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Alan Albin Alan S. Albin, Attorney at Law

Re: My ObGyn Refuses to continue to treat me during Pregnancy

I'm not sure if what your doctor did is legal.

However, since you are consulting attorneys in reference to his conduct, his concerns that you would be the "type" who would be likely to take legal action against him, may well be justified.

The bottom line is that you must get care for yourself and your unborn child. You may well have a legal cause of action against Dr. No. 1 or Dr. No. 2. But, if you have been told your doctor does not trust you and does not want to maintain a patient-physician relationship with you, it would seem that you must obtain another doctor, even if the original or second doctor broke the law. The necessity of getting the medical care you need, from a doctor you trust, and who trusts you, is a separate issue from whether you can sue one of your prior doctors.

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Answered on 12/23/04, 5:54 pm

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