Skip to content

Nurse Patient Abandonment

To a nurse who simply needs to handle a personal emergency or leave her current position for a new job, severing a relationship with a patient may seem like a small part of the process.

To a patient who is left suddenly without care, however, the situation can be life-threatening. Many who suffer harm as a result will often respond by bringing a complaint to the Florida State Nursing Board or filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Though it is not illegal to stop providing medical care to a patient for any reason, how that process is done is an important detail. If done improperly, a nurse could potentially lose their license to practice.

What Is Nursing Patient Abandonment?

Patient abandonment in nursing is defined by the abrupt cutting of ties with a patient that results in them having a lack of medical care.

This may happen because a nurse leaves her job suddenly or has to attend to a family emergency, and she is unable to show up to work without providing notice or compensatory care. It could also happen because she leaves her position but does not do the due diligence to ensure that a patient who cannot advocate for themselves has the care they need to stay healthy and safe.

In most cases when this occurs, the case is focused on the damages. That is, if medical harm comes to the patient as a result of being without care, that will likely be the focus of the lawsuit. In many cases, it is the patient’s family bringing the complaint.

Is Patient Abandonment Illegal?

It is not illegal to sever a professional relationship between a patient and a nurse for any reason, but it is illegal to do so without providing enough notice so the patient can connect with another nurse or medical care provider.

How Do I Avoid Patient Abandonment?

If you work for a medical organization, giving notice to your employer and ensuring that they pass your case to the care of another nurse is an easy way to make sure that there are no holes in their medical care.

If you work independently and/or they are unable to find their own medical care, you will need to provide notice to a family member in charge or to a state organization that can ensure the patient will be cared for when you move on.

Do I Need a Patient Abandonment Lawyer?

Patient abandonment law is designed to protect the patients from losing contact with medical care that is lifesaving, especially if they are not necessarily able to facilitate their own connection to another medical care provider.

Not knowing about or not fully understanding the law will not protect a nurse from the consequences of patient abandonment claims in court. It is possible to have to pay fines or face suspension and to even lose one’s license and ability to work as a nurse in the state of Florida.

Contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm today to set up a consultation and respond to complaints proactively while also working to make sure that the situation is not repeated in the future.