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4 referral mistakes that can constitute medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

A doctor should request a specialist to diagnose a condition they are not highly knowledgeable about or perform a treatment they are not trained on. If your doctor believes you need speciality care, they should provide you with a referral.

Issues related to referrals can constitute medical malpractice. Here are four examples:

Inadequate information 

A primary care provider must provide a specialist with in-depth information about a patient’s medical history, condition, symptoms, test findings and so on. If your doctor refers you to a specialist and fails to forward adequate details, you may experience a delayed diagnosis. The specialist may be forced to perform numerous tests that could have been avoided if the doctor had reliable results. 


Your doctor should have adequate information about the specialist they are referring you to. Sending you to unqualified or unlicensed physicians or those too busy to schedule timely appointments may be negligence. It may also be unlawful for your doctor to refer you to someone with a record of medical malpractice or disciplinary action.

If your doctor gives you a general referral, they should be specific about the qualities/skills you should look for in a provider.

Failure to refer

Failing to refer a patient can lead to injuries. Some doctors do this due to different reasons, but mainly because they don’t want to accept the limits of their competency. And it mostly happens in primary care and emergency departments.

Not following up

A doctor should follow up after a referral to ensure the patient receives the appropriate care. It may be medical negligence if they fail to do so.

If you believe you experienced referral-related medical malpractice, you should obtain more information about your case to understand your options.