A Doctor’s Failure to Refer a Patient to a Specialist | What to Know

We often think of doctors as superheroes. While doctors can do amazing things, they are still human, and they can still make mistakes. While some of these mistakes are unavoidable, some are simply due to a doctor’s negligence. In cases like this, patients can be seriously harmed. One of the most common forms of negligence is a doctor’s failure to refer a patient to a specialist. Read on to learn more.

When Does a Doctor Need to Refer a Patient?

There are various circumstances that may warrant a doctor to refer his or her patient to a specialist. For example, if your general practitioner notices something wrong that may require medical intervention outside of his expertise, he must refer you to a specialist in a timely fashion.

What is the Standard of Care?

Doctors have a duty of care to their patients that binds them to treat their patients accordingly. They must treat their patients until the treatment is no longer needed, or the patient ends the relationship. Additionally, doctors must follow a “standard of care.” The standard of care refers to a doctor acting in accordance with what another physician of similar qualifications would do in the same situation.

What if a Doctor Fails to Refer a Patient?

We trust that our doctors will take care of us. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If a doctor fails to refer a patient to a specialist, that patient can become extremely ill as a result. There are various consequences of failing to refer certain patients to specialists, including:

  • The patient’s condition can worsen, even to the point of irreversibility
  • If a physician does not have sufficient knowledge of the field a patient required assistance in, he or she may misdiagnose or delay the diagnosis
  • Doctors sometimes miss diagnoses when failing to refer patients for more specific testing/lab work
  • Sometimes, when doctors fail to refer patients to specialists, it may even result in wrongful death

If any of the above situations occur, you will need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Our firm will fight to help you recover the compensation you deserve.


Stathis & Leonardis, LLC is an experienced personal injury law firm in Middlesex County, New Jersey that is committed to helping clients who have been hurt due to another party’s negligence. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or were injured on another person’s property, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today.

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