It is not uncommon for a physician that treats a patient to refer the patient to a specialist for the diagnosis or treatment of certain conditions. When multiple providers treat a person for a single issue, and the care provided is inadequate, it can be challenging to assess which care provider is ultimately responsible for the person’s harm. In a recent gynecologic malpractice case, a New York appellate court discussed the duties imposed on a care provider with regards to treatment by a specialist to whom the provider transfers a patient’s care. If you suffered harm due to negligent care rendered by a gynecologist, it is wise to speak with a seasoned Syracuse gynecologic malpractice attorney regarding what compensation you may be able to pursue.
Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment
Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant gynecologist for a routine examination. During the examination, the defendant gynecologist felt a palpable mass that was tender to the touch in the plaintiff’s right breast. As such, the defendant gynecologist referred the plaintiff to the defendant breast surgeon for further examination. Upon examination, the defendant breast surgeon was unable to locate a palpable mass, which he reported to the defendant gynecologist. The mass in the plaintiff’s right breast was ultimately determined to be breast cancer. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendants for malpractice for delaying her cancer diagnosis. The defendant gynecologist filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.
Liability for Negligence When a Patient is Referred to Another Provider
Under New York law, it is axiomatic that a defendant in a medical malpractice case must prove that he or she did not deviate from the applicable standard of care or that any deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged harm, in order to obtain a dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. While a defendant in a medical malpractice case cannot be held vicariously liable for the malpractice of a care provider to whom the defendant refers a patient, the defendant can be held liable for his or her own negligent conduct that causes a patient harm.