You probably had your first encounter with a primary doctor as a child, when your parents would take you to the same doctor they also saw for their own health concerns. A primary care physician (PCP), sometimes called the family doctor, generally practices preventive medicine, and looks after the overall health of individuals and families on a regular basis. However, if you have been suffering some symptoms, and several visits to your PCP have not yielded a diagnosis, this most likely warrants the attention of a specialist.
When a patient has been found to have a more complex illness, it is normal for the PCP to refer him to a specialist. In a report from the Archives of Internal Medicine, physicians’ referral to specialists have greatly increased from 4.8% to 9.3% between 1999 and 2009. The process of necessary referrals is significant for a patient’s health, and failure to do so may put the physician at risk of liability.
A local patient who has to deal with the consequences of a PCP’s failure to refer should immediately seek legal help from reputable New York City medical malpractice lawyers like those from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein. With years of experience behind them, these professionals can act quickly to help the patient get compensation for the harm or injury he or she suffered.
The potential of being involved in a lawsuit makes it crucial for physicians to refer patients with conditions or treatment needs out of their own practice’s capacity to specialists. Recognizing the limitations of general medicine reduces the liability risks of PCPs even if the referred specialist is not the right one, or is unable to treat the condition, as long as the referral was made in accordance with good medicine. In line with this, patients referred to specialists who don’t send notes to the PCPs or fails to provide the expected medical care have to stop consulting with them and request for a more competent medical professional.
While PCPs generally can treat many diseases and medical conditions, they should know when a situation is beyond their own area of expertise. A patient who could have received better care had he been referred to a specialist in a timely manner should see established New York City medical malpractice attorneys and seek compensation for the professional negligence he suffered.
(Source: Referrals And Liability: What Primary Care Physicians Need To Know? Medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com)