While I was looking around the ICAN website, I stumbled across the term "patient abandonment" and googling found me this summary (written by lawyers!):
The executive summary seems to be this bit:
"Three elements must exist for patient abandonment to occur:
1. The termination of services must be unilateral, i.e., not by mutual agreement.
2. The termination must occur without reasonable notice, meaning notice adequate to give the patient a sufficient opportunity to secure alternative care; and,
3. The termination must occur when there is still the necessity of continuing care."
Wow. Who knew? Well, _I_ didn't know. And it goes a long way to reassuring me that as a patient/client, I do in fact have some rights. Even people living in areas with just a single doctor should be able to coerce that doctor into providing care (treatment? care seems wrong in this context) even if the doctor has taken a disliking to them -- provided they can find a lawyer somewhere to write pointed letters, possibly followed up by a malpractice lawsuit.