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Can a Doctor be Held Liable for Malpractice if They Fail to Refer a Patient in New Jersey?

Can a Doctor be Held Liable for Malpractice if They Fail to Refer a Patient in New Jersey?

People go through various education and training to become different types of doctors. While some are general practitioners, others are specialists within a certain field of medicine. If a general practitioner does not have the knowledge needed to treat a symptom or condition, they can refer their patient to a doctor who specializes in the matter and can provide treatment. If a doctor does not follow the proper standard of care in referring a patient, they may be liable for any further suffering the patient experiences. Continue reading below to learn more.

When is a Doctor Referral Necessary?

Doctor-patient relationships require the medical professional to provide their patient with treatment until it is no longer necessary or the patient ends the relationship. This means they are required to refer patients to a specialist if they are unable to treat them. This must be done in line with the proper “standard of care.” What is considered the standard of care is determined by the decisions other doctors would make in the same situation. If another doctor would refer the patient, they must do so themselves. If they deviate from the standard of care, the patient can pursue legal action against the doctor for their suffering. 

How Can the Failure to Refer Harm a Patient?

If a doctor does not refer a patient who needs further treatment, it can cause them serious undue harm as a result. Examples of issues that can arise due to the failure to refer a patient 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 

The failure to refer can also cause fatalities in some cases. This can lead the family of the deceased patient to recover compensation for any related medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering.

Contact our Firm

We understand the impact a serious injury can have on an individual’s life. If you have been injured in New Jersey due to another party’s negligence, please do not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney who can assess your situation and guide you through your legal options. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help.

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