Those seeking medical treatment typically start with their General Practitioner (GP) unless it is an emergency room visit. Generally, the GP recognizes something is wrong and orders tests or takes steps to treat symptoms. However, the illness or injury may require specialized treatment. For example, if the patient complains of migraines, the GP may prescribe pain-relieving medication, order initial tests, and refer them to a neurologist trained in diagnosing and treating brain conditions and diseases.
Unfortunately, the GP may not always refer the patient, perhaps believing they can treat the headaches or symptoms themselves. Their actions can be mistakes that lead to increasingly dangerous complications. The GP misinterpreted the test results or missed the tumor during the initial testing, which means the cancer can spread because of a delayed or missed diagnosis.
This is medical malpractice
Physicians and other medical professionals are just as human as the rest of us, meaning they can make mistakes. Since the patient with severe headaches sought them out for help and treatment, the doctor or medical professional has a legal duty to give the patient the necessary care or refer them to someone who can. They may be guilty of failure to refer if:
- They fail to provide a referral, which causes additional harm.
- They fail to give a referral when others in their position would have done it.
The doctor may also be liable if they refer the patient to an unqualified doctor.
Holding them accountable
A personal injury attorney handling medical malpractice can hold the doctor, medical professional or medical provider liable for failing to refer the victim to a specialist. It is in the medical providers’ professional and financial best interests to fight medical malpractice claims, so it is essential for victims or their families to get the legal support they need.