Many times after being harmed by the medical system in a hospital or by another healthcare provider, patients continue to follow up with their primary care physician for medical treatment and routine care that is unrelated to their recent injury or condition.

And many people have a good relationship with their primary doctor.

Sometimes, people say their doctor even suggests they have a medical malpractice lawyer review or investigate their situation.

But a lot of times, patients ask their primary care doctor about the cause of their condition or whether another doctor or hospital should have done something different to prevent the injury.  Some doctors say yes, and seem to think that right away; others (more commonly) say they just don't know, and a few just say no.

And the problem with any answer really is that the primary care doctor hasn't usually reviewed all of the information - the medical chart, MRI films, lab results, etc. so he's being asked to give an off the cuff type of opinion (and he may change that opinion once he reviews and analyzes everything).  Plus, he's probably not a specialist in the disease, injury or medical treatment or condition you had, so he may really not know but just give you his "gut instinct."

So you have to be careful with this information.  We have seen patients who did not think they could pursue their valid medical malpractice case because of what their primary doctor (wrongly) told them.  And others have been misled into thinking that medical malpractice had occurred when it had not.

We never rely on the treating physician for this information because of this.  It may be helpful, it could be right but you shouldn't rely on it for something as critical and serious as a medical malpractice case for someone who has been seriously injured or harmed.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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