The following section from Day on Torts Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law​​​ is out of date and should not be used. It remains a part of this site for historical purposes only. An updated version of the book is available by subscription at (Additional information below.)

§47.19 Duty of Physician to Refer to a Specialist

The Case: Osborne v. Frazor , 425 S.W.2d 773 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1968).

The Basic Facts: Defendant left a sponge in the patient after a surgery.

The Bottom Line:

  • "Thus the defendant and his witnesses, Drs. Eyler, Troutt, and Wallace were agreed that the condition of an unhealed and draining wound following orthopaedic surgical procedure would be beyond the capacity of a general practitioner and ought to be referred back to the orthopaedic surgeon for specialized diagnosis and treatment." 425 S.W.2d at 773.
  • "In 132 A.L.R. 392 is found the following general statement:
    It may be stated as a general rule that, as a part of the requirements which the law exacts of general practitioners of medicine and surgery, or other schools of healing, if, in the exercise of the care and skill demanded by those requirements, such a practitioner discovers, or should know or discover, that the patient's ailment is beyond his knowledge or technical skill, or ability or capacity to treat with a likelihood of reasonable success, he is under a duty to disclose the [58 Tenn. App. 26] situation to his patient, or advise him of the necessity of other or different treatment."
    Id .
  • "The many cases analyzed under this annotation support the insistence of the plaintiff, the admission of the defendant, and the testimony of the defendant's witnesses that the chronic, persistent condition of the patient in this case required the defendant to recommend treatment by specialist." Id.
  • "Where a physician sets his own standard of professional competence and testifies that he measured up to that standard, but the jury finds from other evidence that the physician failed to do that which he himself considers proper and necessary, the physician cannot complain that the plaintiff has not proven negligence." Id. at 776.

    Other Sources of Note: Waterman v. Damp, No. M2005-01265-COA-R3-CV, 2006 WL 2872432, *11 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 9, 2006) (re-affirming Osborne).

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866.812.8787.

The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

The book is now available electronically by subscription at The new format allows us to keep the book current as new opinions are released. BirdDog Law also has John's Tennessee Law of Civil Trial and Compendium of Tennessee Tort Reform Statutes available by subscription, as well as multiple free resources to help Tennessee lawyers serve their clients

Client Reviews
Everything was great. You guys are a great representative. I was satisfied with everything. Truly appreciate John Day and his hard-working staff. Jamar Gibson
We thought that you did an excellent job in representing us in our lawsuit. We would recommend you to anyone. Mitch Deese
The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. is, without a doubt, the best in Nashville! They treated me with the utmost respect and tended to my every need. No question went unanswered. I was always kept informed of every step in the process. I received phenomenal results; I couldn't ask for more. I would definitely hire The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. again. Anthony Santiago
I would definitely recommend to anyone to hire John Day's law firm because everyone was helpful, made everything clear and got the job done. I am satisfied with how my case was handled. June Keomahavong
It's been a long battle but this firm has been very efficient and has done a remarkable job for me! I highly recommend them to anyone needing legal assistance. Everyone has always been very kind and kept me informed of all actions promptly. Linda Bush
I had a great experience with the Law Offices of John Day. The staff was very accommodating, and my phone calls/emails were always responded to in a timely manner. They made the entire process very easy and stress-free for me, and I had confidence that my case was in good hands. I am very happy with the results, and I highly recommend! Casey Hutchinson