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Can a doctor dismiss my dad because I come to his appointments?

I have accompanied my dad to his doctor's appointments for the last 6 months and always ask the doctor to explain medications and care instructions. The doctor notified my dad than he will no longer care for him as long as I continue to attend his appointments. Is this legal?
Status: Open    Dec 22, 2014 - 10:25 PM


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Expert Answers

Mar 05, 2015 - 08:26 AM

Your question is particularly difficult to answer without knowing a host of additional details. The first question I have is why the physician would specifically have an issue with you attending your father's appointments, especially if you have your father's permission.

The physicians and nurses I communicate with regularly WELCOME and ENCOURAGE family involvement because, especially with seniors who have some form of memory loss or dementia, it provides them the benefits of:

- advocacy for the best interests of the patient
- better medication compliance
- reduced questioning and confusion from the patient
- better overall communication with the physician regarding the health and wellness of the patient.

Jul 27, 2015 - 07:58 AM

Healthcare providers do have the right to dismiss a patient, if they feel that they are being prevented from providing proper care to a patient.

I would suggest that your dad and/or you set up a meeting with the doctor to find out what his objections are for you being present. You did not mention the reason why you are accompanying your dad. Does he have dementia or is he hard of hearing? What does your dad think about the situation?

I used to go with my elderly cousin to appointments and recently I have started to accompany my husband. In each case, I was there to listen to the instructions and ask questions that they might not think of at the time. I tried not to interfere with the doctor/ patient relationship.

You might want to make sure that you are not dominating the appointment. On the other hand, there are some physicians who are not too skilled with communicating with their patients and may feel intimidated when someone else is in the room. In that case, it might be beneficial for your dad to see a different health care provider.

After talking with your dad’s doctor, you may be able to come to a compromise with him.

I wish you and your dad luck in making the best decision for your dad’s health care.
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