Legal issues when a doctor's relationship with a “difficult” patient breaks down

Loane L C Skene
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (6): 350-351. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11019


  • The legal duties of a doctor attending a “difficult” patient with a serious condition do not end at the last consultation, especially in a small rural community.
  • Doctors have a continuing obligation to ensure that the patient's health is not impaired because the clinical relationship has ended.
  • This article suggests some steps that a doctor could take to fulfil the legal obligation in such a case.

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  • Loane L C Skene

  • Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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