What Is The Standard Of Care In Medical Malpractice Cases?
August 23, 2021

What Is The Standard Of Care In Medical Malpractice Cases?

A person may sue for medical malpractice if a doctor or other medical professional injures their patient because of negligence or misconduct. Medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider violates the standard of care and causes injury to patients.

If a reasonable person would take a particular action, then it would be considered negligence. Alternately, negligent behavior would result if a reasonable person wouldn't have done something.

In medical malpractice cases, however, the courts usually define negligence as the failure of a health care provider to provide care that meets the applicable medical standards. We'll explain in this article what that means.

It can be difficult to prove that you were injured by medical malpractice. That is why it is important to contact a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer who can ensure you have the best possible chance of proving medical malpractice has occurred.

What is the Standard of Care?

The standard of care in medical malpractice is the type and level that an acceptable healthcare provider would provide to a patient suffering from a particular condition. The doctor could be held responsible if they fail to provide a medical service with the required skill or knowledge or fail to use reasonable care or exercise their best judgement and cause injury or harm to the patient.

Three basic duties are required of medical professionals to provide care as part of the standard of healthcare:

  • It is the duty to have the same knowledge and skills as a member of the average medical profession in the area where the professional practices
  • The duty to exercise reasonable care in the application of professional knowledge and skills
  • The obligation to use his or her best judgement, using his or her knowledge, and exercising his or her skill.

What about specialists?

Some health care professionals can be considered specialists in their fields. Specialists are those who have gone through extensive training and exams and are often held to a higher standard. 

Here are some examples of common health care specialties.

  • Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Internal medicine
  • Anesthesiology
  • Allergy
  • Pediatrics
  • Ophthalmology

Is the 'Reasonableness Standard' ever applicable in medical malpractice cases?

Some states use the "second school" or "respectable minority" definition. This is where doctors and medical malpractice lawyers acknowledge that there may be multiple acceptable ways to deliver care to patients in any given situation.

What is the Locality Rule?

In a case of medical malpractice, the standard of care depends on where the healthcare provider is located. The doctor must have the same level of knowledge and skill as other medical professionals in his or her field and geographic area.

The standard of care in medical terms refers to the highest level of professional medical care applicable to a particular medical situation. The resources available to the doctor and the way they are used will determine the standard of care. It is determined whether another medical professional with the same credentials, experience, and access to the same resources would perform the same procedure. This is the accepted standard of care.

For example: If all pediatricians in a city have the same practices, and have access to the same equipment and facilities, then you should expect their patients to receive similar care. If one of the local doctors is not consistent in providing quality care, he may not be offering adequate standards of care.

A plaintiff must be capable of presenting a doctor who is familiar with the local standards.

How can you prove the standard of care?

Medical malpractice cases require proof that a doctor has breached the standard. Expert witnesses, such as doctors or other medical professionals, will be required in most medical malpractice cases to give evidence about the standard of care for a particular situation. 

Expert witnesses should be doctors or other healthcare professionals who are in the same field of the alleged negligent doctor and have a similar background. These experts will testify about the competence and skill of a competent doctor under these circumstances, and whether the actions taken by the doctor in question were within that standard.

What Does a Breach Mean for a Case of Medical Malpractice?

A medical malpractice case hinges on whether the care received by the patient was up to the standard of care. Medical malpractice can be a valid claim if there is evidence that the doctor or another healthcare provider failed to make the best use of all resources and strategies available for diagnosing and treating the patient.

As part of any documentation filed about a claim, you must provide evidence of these two elements: breach of the standard and injury caused by the breach. This documentation includes all medical records that involve interactions between the provider, patient, and their respective hospitals, charts, test results, and medication orders, notes in the patient's file, hospital charts, hospital charts, and other pertinent information. You will also find any documentation provided by doctors who have taken over the care of the patient after the injury.

An attorney will use evidence to prove that the doctor did not adhere to the established standards of care or acted in the patient's best interests. The patient suffered damages now and in the future because of a preventable problem or injury.

Talk to an experienced attorney for medical malpractice

You should immediately contact a medical malpractice attorney if you suspect that a doctor, or another medical professional, has not provided reasonable treatment or care or has violated the standard for care.

If your attorney can show that the standard of care was not followed and that an injury or other complications occurred, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice suit.