When Should A Physician Refer To A Specialist?

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When does a physician need to get a specialist involved in patient care? When a primary care physician orders and interprets specialized tests, they are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the test and its limitations. Because no doctor knows all there is to know about the complexities of the human body, primary care physicians refer to specialists who focus on particular parts of the body and the treatment of specific conditions. When a primary care physician fails to consult with a specialist or refer a patient to a specialist for proper care, adverse medical results may lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that the duty of care was breached.

In Malpractice Case: The Danger of Not Referring to a Specialist, Medscape.com writes:

It is not news that primary care physicians are increasingly asked to handle more of their patients’ care. Thus, these caregivers often find themselves responsible for more specialized medicine than ever before. This added responsibility can also result in added risk and potential liability.

The law requires that a primary care physician be knowledgeable in the specialty that he or she ventures into. So when a primary care physician orders and interprets specialized tests, he or she will be expected to be thoroughly familiar with their use and limitations.

In concurrence, Patientpop.com writes on When and How to Refer Patients to a Fellow Physician:

There will be times when, no matter how hard you try, you just won’t be able to determine how to best help a patient. This isn’t defeat, it is a mutual goal to diagnose a patient in the most efficient way. Consider referring your patient if you find yourself in this situation. If you see that your patient has risk factors, or if you simply want a second opinion, a referral to a specialist might be the way to go.

Internal medicine physicians are generally primary care providers who treat patients on an outpatient basis. Internists often serve as the gateway to care when patients develop symptoms that require advanced care by a specialist. The failure to get a specialist involved can have grave consequences when serious conditions are unrecognized or misdiagnosed. This can leave a potentially fatal problem untreated or could result in an ineffective, inappropriate, or even a harmful course of treatment.

When symptoms go unrecognized or are misdiagnosed, medical malpractice litigation may ensue. Adding a board-certified, full-time practicing university physician medical expert witness to your legal team ensures powerful testimony. Contact Elite Medical Experts to secure the optimal expert who is ready to work with you.

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