Patient referral management is an integral part of clinical practice. However, in low-resource settings, referrals are often delayed. The World Health Organization categorizes three types of referral delays; delay in seeking care, in reaching care and in receiving care. Using two case studies of maternal referrals (from a low-resource state in India), this article shows how a culture of downstream blaming permeates referral practice in India. With no referral guidelines to follow, providers in higher-facilities evaluate the clinical decision-making of their peers in lower-facilities based on patient outcome, not on objective measures. The fear of punitive action for an unfavorable maternal outcome is a larger driving factor than patient safety. The article argues for the need to formulate an ecosystem where patient responsibility is shared across the health system. In conclusion, it discusses possible solutions which can bridge communication and information gap between referring facilities.