Physicians generally study one type of medicine and specialize in it. If you have a foot problem, you likely will go see a podiatrist. If you have a problem with your heart, you likely go see a cardiologist. And if you are seeing a general practitioner, but they discover a specific issue, they should refer you to the right type of specialist to assist with your medical issue. This is where things can get complicated. If you are experiencing an eye issue and you are seeing a general practitioner, or an eye doctor that does not specialize in the issue that you face, it is the doctor’s job to refer you to a specialist. Failure to refer in Connecticut is actually considered medical malpractice in many cases. You can learn more here.
What is Failure to Refer?
As mentioned above, doctors have an obligation to refer a patient to a specialist if they cannot handle a specific problem. If you see a general care doctor because you are having an eye issue, they should refer you to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Even if you see an eye specialist, they still may be obligated to refer you to someone else if they do not handle your specific eye ailment. For example, if you are seeing an optometrist for a cataract issue, the optometrist should refer you to an ophthalmologist if surgery is an option that you should consider. This is because optometrists cannot perform surgery, while ophthalmologists can. So, you should see an ophthalmologist so that you can explore this option.
How is Failure to Refer Harmful?
Failure to refer could lead to medical malpractice if it results in harm the patient. If the patient’s condition persists or worsens because they could not get proper treatment, failure to refer could be medical malpractice. This might also be the case in the event that the original doctor misdiagnoses the issue or if there is failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosis. Failing to refer a patient to a specialist could have serious consequences for a patient’s eyesight because it means that they will not get the help that they need.
If your doctor is not confident in diagnosing an eye issue that you face, you might take it on yourself to ask the doctor for a referral or find a second opinion yourself. You can do your own research and find a specialist to consult, even if your doctor is not referring you to someone. In this case, you may be able to get the help that you need, even if your doctor is not providing it.
Call a Connecticut Attorney for Failure to Refer Cases
If your doctor did not refer you to an eye specialist to help with an eye condition, and you experienced more harm as a result, you could have a medical malpractice case. Contact our office to discuss your situation during a free consultation on failure to refer in Connecticut. We can go over your case and determine the best way to proceed. Our firm is happy to support you through this experience.