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Primary Care Expert Witnesses

Critical insights on misdiagnosis and malpractice matters

Within the healthcare system, primary care refers to the first point of contact for patients seeking medical attention, sometimes because of known symptoms of illness or injury, but often for regular wellness checks. Primary care providers (PCP) perform routine checkups, screenings, and vaccinations, diagnose and treat common medical conditions, and provide patient education and counseling on many health topics. They are responsible for monitoring patients’ health, spotting warning signs of a more dangerous or unusual condition, and providing a referral to a specialist if necessary.

Primary care providers can come from a variety of medical specialties. Family medicine is the only specialty primarily devoted to training primary care physicians, but PCPs can also be general practitioners (for adults), pediatricians (for babies, children, and adolescents), and geriatricians (for older adults). Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also provide many of the same primary care services as physicians.

In a broader sense, dentists and optometrists also provide primary care services for the teeth and eyes, respectively. Likewise, obstetricians/gynecologists provide primary care to women, with a focus on reproductive and gynecological health.

The role of a primary care provider as an expert witness

Medical malpractice claims against PCPs often involve failure to diagnose an injury or illness and make an appropriate referral to a specialist. Others involve failure to consider the patient’s medical history when prescribing treatment or failure to account for medication allergies, interactions, and side effects. In these situations, a PCP in the same specialty can explain the applicable standards of care and offer their professional opinion on whether the defendant met or breached the standard of care. A PCP can also evaluate the plaintiff’s injury or illness and offer an opinion on the cause and extent.

If you are considering a legal case involving alleged negligence by a primary care provider, you need the right expert witness. Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants can help. Our network includes experienced PCPs across most medical specialties, and we will serve as an integral part of your team from start to finish. Contact us today for a free case summary review.

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