There are many different types of doctors in the world. While some are general practitioners, others specialize in a certain area of medicine. When a general practitioner treats a patient, they may come across a symptom or condition they do not have the knowledge to treat. It is because of this that they can refer the patient to a specialist that does have the knowledge to treat them. The failure to do so can cause the patient further suffering and the doctor can be held liable as a result. Continue reading below to learn more.
When is a Doctor Referral Necessary?
When a doctor-patient relationship is established, the doctor is required to treat their patient until one of two things takes place: treatment is no longer necessary or the patient ends their relationship. That makes a referral necessary if the doctor discovers a condition that they feel they are unable to properly treat. A referral allows the patient to see a specialist who does possess the skill to properly treat them.
A referral is required based on the “standard of care.” This is determined based on how other doctors with similar qualifications would handle the situation. If they would refer the patient, the doctor is required to do the same. Failure to do so by deviating from the standard of care can cause the doctor to be held liable for further suffering.
How Can the Failure to Refer Harm a Patient?
When a doctor does not refer their patient to see another doctor, it can cause serious harm to the patient. The following are common results of the failure to refer:
- 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
In addition to this, doctors who fail to refer a patient can sometimes cause fatalities as well. When this happens, the family of the patient may be able to recover damages for the medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering that was caused by the incident.
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If you or someone you love was injured in a personal injury accident and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact Lloyd J. Eisenberg & Associates today.