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Leaving Against Medical Advice

Ronald Hirsch, MD, FACP, CHCQM-PHYADV, CHRI | Published on 2/11/2021

By Ronald Hirsch, MD

A recent discussion on Twitter caught my attention. A physician posted, “Left against medical advice” is not the same as ‘Left to attend sister’s funeral.’ Let’s choose our words better.” This doctor has a point. The choice of words we use to describe patients is not a minor issue. When I trained, if a patient was not taking their medication properly or following care instructions, we called that patient “non-compliant.” Once the patient’s medical record indicated that the patient was “non-compliant,” the patient becomes labeled as one who does not follow instructions.

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