Is it Malpractice if a New Jersey Doctor Does Not Refer a Patient?


People go to visit the doctor when they need assistance, trusting they will be properly taken care of. Generally, this begins with a visit to a general practitioner. However, there are many cases in which a general practitioner does not have the knowledge to treat a patient. When this happens, they must refer the patient to a doctor who has specialized knowledge regarding the matter. The failure to do so could cause further harm to the patient and the doctor can be held liable. Continue reading below to learn more.

When is a Doctor Referral Necessary?

When a doctor-patient relationship is established, it means the doctor must continue to treat the patient until one of two things happens: the treatment is no longer needed or the patient terminates the relationship. Part of providing treatment to a patient consists of referring them if they cannot treat the individual themselves. This is required of them as long as it meets the “standard of care.” This is determined by how other doctors would handle the same situation. If another doctor would refer the patient, they are required to do so. If a doctor fails to uphold the standard of care and a patient suffers, they may be held liable for damages.

How Can the Failure to Refer Harm a Patient?

When doctors do not refer a patient in need, they can cause the individual further harm as a result. Examples of this can include:

  • 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 

The failure to refer can also cause fatalities in some cases. When this happens, the family of the patient can pursue legal action on behalf of the deceased in order to recover compensation. This may provide coverage for any medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering they incurred as a result.

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If you have been the victim of the negligence of another in an automobile accident, please contact my office as quickly as possible following the subject accident. It is important to consult with us early on so that we may begin the process of fighting for your rights in regard to any potential claim that you may have. The process is complicated and requires the expertise of a qualified New Jersey personal injury attorney. CONTACT US TODAY!

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