California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

508. Duty to Refer to a Specialist

If a reasonably careful [insert type of medical practitioner] in the same situation would have referred [name of patient] to a [insert type of medical specialist], then [name of defendant] was negligent if [he/she] did not do so.

However, if [name of defendant] treated [name of patient] with as much skill and care as a reasonable [insert type of medical specialist] would have, then [name of defendant] was not negligent.

New September 2003

Sources and Authority

  • Physicians who elect to treat a patient even though the patient should have been referred to a specialist will be held to the standard of care of that specialist. If the physician meets the higher standard of care, he or she is not negligent. (Simone v. Sabo (1951) 37 Cal.2d 253, 257 [231 P.2d 19].)
  • If the evidence establishes that the failure of a nurse to consult the attending physician under the circumstances presented in the case is not in accord with the standard of care of the nursing profession, this instruction may be applicable. (Fraijo v. Hartland Hospital (1979) 99 Cal.App.3d 331, 344 [160 Cal.Rptr. 246].)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 933, 934

California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) § 9.6

3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 30, General Principles of Liability of Professionals, § 30.12, Ch. 31, Liability of Physicians and Other Medical Practitioners, § 31.13 (Matthew Bender)

17 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 209, Dentists, § 209.11 (Matthew Bender)

36 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 415, Physicians: Medical Malpractice, § 415.11 (Matthew Bender)

17 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 175, Physicians and Surgeons, §§ 175.20 (Matthew Bender)