Doctors refused to make house call for sick relative

Doctors refused to make house call for sick relative

My uncle was down with the flu recently and was too weak to walk to the clinics two Housing Board blocks away.

So, I tried to facilitate a house call by the neighbourhood doctors. However, two doctors flatly refused to do a house call and the third was not in his clinic during its published operating hours.

The first doctor refused on the grounds that my uncle was not one of her patients.

It was half an hour to closing and there were no patients in her clinic at that time. Yet, she chose not to attend to my uncle.

The second doctor refused our request even though my uncle is his patient.

My uncle is of stocky build and was very weak as he had not eaten well for two days.

It would have been impossible for the domestic helper and me to carry him to either of the clinics.

Thankfully, we managed to find a wheelchair and took him to one of the aforementioned clinics. Otherwise, I would have had to call for an ambulance.

What happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

I understand if doctors do not entertain house calls when their clinics are full.

However, it befuddles me that the doctors rejected my request even though their clinics were empty and the patient was but two blocks away.

Is it also ethical for a doctor to refuse to attend to a patient on the basis that the latter is not one of his regular patients?

Colin Loh


This article was first published on March 08, 2015.
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