My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: Michigan.
My doctor (an M.D.), with whom I had an excellent relationship, died recently. He was in a practice with several other M.D's, and the practice sent me a letter promising that they would make every effort to find room for me with one of the remaining physicians, and this was confirmed at least twice over the phone. All I had to do, I was told, was select a preferred physician and they'd work it out.
When I did offer a preference, via fax, I soon learned that this doctor hastily rushed to judgment and sent out by certified mail an extremely terse termination letter immediately, and given the timing, he almost certainly did this without reviewing my file or patient history (which I repeat was excellent and problem-free). There was no explanation given whatsoever, and one particularly striking element was that there was no signature anywhere. The letter stated that apparently everyone in the practice (since there was no signature!) refused to see me for any reason other than an emergency for the next thirty days. That clearly includes refilling my vital daily medications, since every refill request -- from both myself and my pharmacy -- have been utterly ignored and sit languishing with no action whatsoever. The doctor who was sent the refill requests is not the doctor whose name I requested in my fax, but I have seen this doctor several times in the recent past (when my main doctor was out ill) and she has refilled my prescriptions several times before this termination.
From what I've read, this very much seems to be a case of illegal patient abandonment, but I'm not sure. Is it? And does the law require continuing to refill my necessary daily prescriptions for my chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and the like for the 30 days specified in the letter?
Also, speaking of the thirty days, has that period even legally begun considering that the letter was unsigned? I've learned from various sources (none of them legal authorities) that an unsigned letter it not legally binding, and that it's as if I technically never even received it. Is that correct?
I've read several documents that explain that there are multiple valid reasons a doctor can dismiss a patient without running afoul of the law, but I assure you that I don't fit into any of them. And I understand that since the doctor I requested in my fax and I have never met and we have no history together, the legal obligation for continuing care simply doesn't apply. However, I do have a history with that second doctor in the practice, so the law very much seems to have been violated.
Please inform me -- in general (I don't expect any reply to be considered any kind of legal consultation or to be binding in any way) -- what the law says about my questions.