Medical Professional Publications

Risks Associated with Informal Curbside Consults

Risk Management

(From the February 2014 Issue of MedStat)

One of the potential liability risks that physicians face is the curbside consult. A curbside consult is best described as the informal solicitation of medical advice about a specific patient’s medical condition, treatment and care without the physician being consulted actually seeing and examining the patient. The request for help or advice can come from a fellow physician or non-physicians such as family and friends. Often the information about the patient is incomplete or inaccurate and can be asked for under less than ideal circumstances such as at a party or in the open hallways of the hospital. For the busy physician, they can be viewed as a speedy and convenient way to get information and advice from a colleague. However, any form of curbside consult can place you and the physician asking for the informal consult at the potential risk of professional liability. For guidelines regarding curbside consults, refer to the insert in your Medical Staff Packet.

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