If I File Bankruptcy and Include My Doctor, Will He Still Treat Me?

by Douglas Jacobs, Esq.

June 10, 2007

In order to file a petition for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7, 11, 12 or 13, you must list all of your assets and all of your debts: even those which you don’t want to discharge. Of course, once the bankruptcy is filed, you can always choose to repay anyone listed. Promising to pay someone after bankruptcy may or may not be a good idea and you should consult with your attorney before you do so.

Often, however, my clients have a big issue filing bankruptcy because they are afraid that by listing their doctor, they won’t be able to return for continued treatment, or for a medical emergency. In most cases, the medical community can’t not treat someone in need, and is well aware of the rising costs of medical treatment (see Kevin Gibson’s excellent article on this), so they will still treat patients after a bankruptcy is filed. For some discretionary treatments after bankruptcy they will ask for payment at the time of treatment.

Hospitals also must treat patients on an emergency basis. This is true even if the patent has bankrupted a large hospital bill. You’re simply entitled to a fresh start and you can’t be refused treatment.

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Douglas Jacobs is a California bankruptcy attorney and partner in the Chico law firm of Jacobs, Anderson, Potter & Chaplin. Since 1988, Mr. Jacobs has taught Constitutional law and Debtor-Creditor/Bankruptcy law at the Cal Northern School of Law. He has served as Dean of Students since 1994. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject of consumer bankruptcy law, and has spoken at both state and national levels.

Last modified: October 22, 2012