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Dr. Refuses Care of Patient after Political Disagreement

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Jan 9, 2017

While the election has ended, the stress and disappointment for some – and the elation for others – still exists. But regardless of your personal views, most people would agree that the doctor’s office is not the place for political discourse.

That sentiment is one that Heidi Kravitz Dunn, a woman from Havertown, certainly agrees with. Unfortunately, when Kravitz Dunn visited her doctor of eight years this November, his agenda was not focused on medicine, according to an article in Philly.com, but instead on Trump’s success.

Doctor & Patient Disagree on Politics

According to the Philly.com article, Kravitz Dunn visited her doctor this Veterans’ Day for some routine blood work. Because of the need for blood work, she had fasted throughout the night, and was feeling shaky that morning (she suffers from hypoglycemia).

Kravitz Dunn is a teacher at a charter school in Philadelphia, and surely has her own opinions about the election. However, Kravitz Dunn says it is not she who brought up politics, but her doctor, Joseph LaBricciosa. Kravitz Dunn claims that LaBricciosa began ranting about the college protests against Trump’s election, ultimately telling Kravitz Dunn that Trump is the best person for the job, and told her, “If you don’t believe what I believe, then this isn’t the practice for you and you need to go.”

Doctor Apologizes for Disagreement

LaBricciosa, while acknowledging that the two certainly had a disagreement, has a different version of events, claiming that Kravitz Dunn got up and left on her own accord. Regardless, he sent an apology letter to Kravitz Dunn, promising to refrain from discussing politics in the future.

Kravitz Dunn has filed a complaint with her insurance company, a hospital that LaBricciosa has privileges at, and the American Medical Association (AMA). She has already found a new doctor, too.

The issue raises the question of whether or not doctors have the right to deny patients care (assuming that Kravitz Dunn’s version of events are accurate). The issue has come up more than once recently, with a urologist in Florida posting a sign over his practice’s door advising supporters of Obama to seek care elsewhere. While denying a patient care based on their political views certainly is questionable from an ethics standpoint, the legality of the issue is less obvious. There is no law that says that a doctor must provide a patient with basic preventative care (doctors must provide emergency care, though); however, a doctor who denies a patient with whom a pre-existing relationship existed – such as that between LaBricciosa and Kravitz Dunn – may be committing abandonment, which may violate both ethics principles and the law. In terms of medical negligence, though, the patient would have to prove that the denial of care was an act of negligence, and that negligence led to the patient’s direct harm.

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys Protecting Your Rights

Again, the legality of the issue is far from clear. At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced Philadelphia malpractice attorneys believe that all patients deserve quality care, and that healthcare providers have a moral and legal duty to offer this care regardless of patients’ personal opinions. If you believe that you have been wrongfully denied care you deserve, and if this denial has resulted in harm, please call our law offices today for a free case consultation.

 

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