Yesterday I took my child to the pediatrician's office as she was ill. We were told that we had an outstanding bill and unless we pay it, the pediatrician will not see my child. We were very confused about this and decided to pay it anyway to have my child seen by the doctor. Later we found out that the bill is about a procedure that my child has never received. Or in other words, the bill should not be ours in the first place and it was a mistake of the pediatrician's office.

This experience makes me feel humiliated and discriminated. What can I do about this experience that my pediatrician would not see my child until I pay a bill that I don't owe?

  • 7
    Have you tried just contacting their billing office, politely explaining the error, and asking for a refund? Then there'd be no need for any kind of legal process. I would not suggest making accusations about deliberate humiliation or discrimination; I understand it was not a pleasant experience, but so far there doesn't seem to be any evidence that it was anything but an honest mistake. Jun 1 at 12:39
  • 3
    Note that in the US, there is no general requirement for doctors to provide care, except in emergency situations. So it was probably legal for them to refuse to treat your child until you had settled your bill (or what they thought was your bill). Jun 1 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


A doctor can choose their patients

A doctor has a professional duty to render aid in an emergency. However, apart from this and assuming the decision is not made for a prohibited or unlawfully discriminatory reason, they can refuse to see whoever they want.

What you have here is poor customer relations, not illegally. Find a better doctor.

  • [A doctor has a legal duty to render aid in an emergency] - Really?
    – Richard
    Jun 2 at 11:23
  • 1
    @Richard really.
    – Dale M
    Jun 2 at 12:36
  • Citation missing. Moral and ethical, certainly, but legally?
    – Richard
    Jun 2 at 12:45
  • @Richard to be clear it’s an obligation of registration and failure to do so can lead to the doctor being struck off. It’s not a legal duty punishable by the courts.
    – Dale M
    Jun 2 at 12:48
  • So, not a legal duty at all? In fact, quite the opposite of what you said?
    – Richard
    Jun 2 at 12:52

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