Improper Follow Up
Follow-ups are vital to a patient's continued health. Doctors make referrals and order tests. However, their responsibilities to their patients do not end there. Failure to follow up with a patient can lead to terrible results.
How Are Liability, Causation, & Damages Satisfied for This Case Type
Did the standard of care require that the doctor follow up on test results, outside consults, communicate with the patient, or take any other steps after the patient left their office? While doctors are busy, they have a responsibility to their patients that extends outside of their office. If the doctor finds out that a lab value they ordered came back critically dangerous, it is their responsibility to communicate this to the patient, even if the patient is not in their office at the time and to provide instructions. Alternatively, if a radiology result comes back with emergent findings, the doctor must reach out to patient to let them know to go to the hospital.
Did the failure to follow-up cause the injury claimed? If the doctor failed to follow up but this failure did not cause the injury claimed, then causation will be difficult to prove.
What did the failure to follow up cause? Results from failing to follow up can be devastating. For example, if a patient's lab values come back dangerously abnormal and the doctor fails to follow-up with the patient to tell them to go to the hospital, and the patient suffers an arrythmia, leading to cardiac arrest and death, the doctor will be responsible for the death.