Is it Considered Malpractice if a Doctor Does Not Refer a Patient?

There are many fields of medicine that doctors can practice in. While some doctors go to school to become general practitioners, others train to become specialists within a certain area. There are many cases in which a general practitioner does not have the knowledge to treat a condition and need to refer the patient to a specialist who does have the expertise. The failure to do so could cause further harm to the patient, which can result in the doctor being held liable. Continue reading below to learn more.

When is a Doctor Referral Necessary?

When a doctor and patient establish a relationship, it means the doctor is required to treat the patient until one of two things takes place. Either treatment is no longer necessary or the patient terminates the relationship. Part of providing treatment requires the doctor to refer a patient if they are unable to treat them. This must be done in line with the rightful “standard of care,” which is determined by how other doctors would handle the same situation. If another doctor would refer the patient, then the doctor is required to do so. If a doctor deviates from the standard of care and a patient suffers as a result, they may be held liable.

How Can the Failure to Refer Harm a Patient?

The failure to refer a patient in need can cause them further undue harm. Examples of this can include the following: 

  • The condition or illness worsening to the point of being irreversible 
  • A misdiagnosis of a condition or illness due to insufficient knowledge
  • A delayed or missed diagnosis caused by the failure to refer a patient 

If a patient is not referred to a doctor who can help them, it can also cause fatalities in some situations. In the event of this, the patient’s family is able to pursue legal action to recover compensation for any medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering they incurred as a result.

Contact our Firm

We understand the implications of a serious accident. If you believe you were injured due to another party’s negligence, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced firm. We are more than willing to help you recover the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Our personal injury specialists at Greenberg & Walden, LLC are standing by for a free initial consultation. Call us at 201-528-6928.

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