How to Notify Patients That Their Doctor Has Died

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The letter notifying patients of their doctor's death must be brief and to the point.
The letter notifying patients of their doctor's death must be brief and to the point. (Image: doctor with patient 4 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com)

There comes a time in every practice or a hospital when a doctor dies and an administrator has to send a letter notifying the doctor's patients. Writing the letter is a simple task. However, it may be time consuming to send out the individual letters and respond to questions, especially if the doctor had a large number of patients. It is important to notify everyone as soon as possible so that the patients can plan for a new doctor.

Search through the doctor's database to get the contact details of all his patients. Look for physical addresses, email addresses and phone numbers.

Type a letter using a text processing software if you want to send a printed message. Print the address of each patient onto an envelope and place one letter into each envelope individually. Affix a stamp onto the envelope and send the letter to every patient at the same time.

Send an email message to patients whose email address you have. Include the same message you have included in the printed letter.

Be clear and brief. Use Arial typeface. Make sure the letter is free from jargon and abbreviations.

Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Explain in the letter what has happened. If you do not have the address of a particular patient, call or email to provide notification. This may be a distressing time for the patients, especially those who have been with the doctor for a long time. So assure them that a qualified physician will take over their files. You can introduce the new doctor in the same letter, or you can provide that information in a separate letter, email or telephone call. Leave your contact details in case patients have follow-up questions.

Provide information on the funeral arrangements in case patients wish to attend.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a patient calls for an appointment with a deceased doctor, explain what has happened and offer to schedule an appointment with the replacement doctor. If the new doctor has not yet started work, suggest other doctors in the area.

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