orphan patient
(OR.fun pay.shunt) n. A hospital patient who doesn‘t have a family doctor. Also known as an unattached patient.

Example Citation:
Dr. Tom Dickson, chief of staff at the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton, Ont., said the FP [family physician] shortage is so severe in the ring of suburbs surrounding Toronto — the '905 belt' — that dozens of orphan patients are arriving at local community hospitals every day.
—Patrick Sullivan, "Enter the hospitalist: new type of patient creating a new type of specialist," Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 2, 2000

Earliest Citation:
Recent media reports have pointed to a growing problem in Ontario's health care system — the care of "orphan patients." These are patients who rely on walk-in clinics and emergency departments because they do not have their own family doctor.
—Jan Kasperski, "Orphan patients," The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo), October 13, 1999

Related Words: