What can a patient do regarding the failure to send out a referral?
Question Details: Someone goes to a cancer center and spends weeks getting tests done. The panel determines the patient doesn't have cancer but instead, they appear to have some other type of disease that will require a different specialist. They then tell the patient they are sending a referral to a specialist. Then, 3 weeks later, the specialist still hasn't received a referral and cannot see the patient without the referral. The cancer center fails to return any emails or phone calls from the patient. All this time, the patient is suffering from debilitating symptoms with no help available. Can this patient sue for malpractice or is there a better way to get things moving?
Medical malpractice is negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable cancer facility would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the cancer center's insurance carrier. The claim filed with the insurance carrier should include the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement. The medical reports document the medical condition and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills. Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the cancer center's insurance carrier, no lawsuit is filed.
If settlement offers from that insurance carrier are inadequate, reject them and file a lawsuit for negligence against the cancer center.
If the case is not settled, the lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.
All of this is a lengthy process. Therefore, a better alternative may be to go to a hospital and get a referral to a specialist.