Is the Failure to Refer a Patient Considered Malpractice in New York?

Is the Failure to Refer a Patient Considered Malpractice in New York?

In order to become a doctor, people go through significant schooling and training. In doing so, there are many who become general practitioners. On the other hand, there are individuals who train to specialize in a certain area of medicine. It is because of this that when a general practitioner discovers a condition past their knowledge, they can refer the patient to a specialist who does have the knowledge to treat them. The failure to do so when it is necessary can cause further suffering to the patient and result in medical malpractice. When this happens, the patient may be entitled to compensation for the damages incurred. Continue reading below to learn more.

When is a Doctor Referral Necessary?

When a doctor-patient relationship is established, it is the job of the doctor to treat the patient until one of two things takes place: the treatment is no longer necessary or the patient ends the relationship. This means if the doctor does not have the knowledge to treat the patient, they are legally required to refer them to a doctor who can. This is done in accordance with the “standard of care” that is expected of them. The standard of care is determined by what other doctors with similar qualifications would do in that situation. If another doctor would have referred the patient, they are required to do so themselves. If the doctor fails to do so, they can be held liable for any suffering that happens as a result. 

How Can the Failure to Refer Harm a Patient?

When a doctor does not refer a patient when they are supposed to, it can cause significant further harm to the individual. Some examples of this are as follows:

  • 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, the failure to refer can sometimes even cause fatalities. In these situations, families of the patients may recover compensation for any medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering that was caused. 

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A personal injury accident can have a great impact on your life and your bank account. At Katter Law Firm, we believe that everyone should be held liable for his or her own negligence; you should not have to bear the burden of someone else’s mistakes. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us today!