What Happens When Your Doctor Fails to Provide the Proper Standard of Care?

Author: Nicki Malekadeli
Posted on: December 3, 2019

Medical practitioners continuously study and practice to provide the care that their patients deserve. However, there are unfortunate circumstances that show a doctor’s inability to deliver medical care compliant with the field of medicine. Sometimes, these unfavorable events lead to injuries sustained by patients, which, in turn, can lead to medical malpractice suits.

Standard of Care Definition

The term standard of care is mostly used in the legal field. This term refers to the acceptable procedures in a particular area of medicine. The knowledge presently available to health care professionals is the basis of this guideline. A physician does not need to do procedures that are above the standard of care. The most crucial action is to follow the standard of care set by the medical community.

The term is used during medical malpractice suits. The lawyers of doctors involved in the case will seek to prove that their clients did not violate the standard of care. On the other hand, the patient’s legal counsel needs to prove that their clients have experienced substandard care in the hands of the medical practitioners.

Thus, the standard of care, in the legal aspect, is set through testimonies from experts in the medical field. There is no clear-cut definition for the standard of care in the legal setting. There is also no written code of the standard. To avoid being guilty of medical malpractice, a physician, together with a legal counsel, has to prove that he or she provided the same care that an ordinary physician would have done in the same situation and with the same medical resources. The court will evaluate the decisions and procedures done by the doctor.

Various Standards of Care

However, the standard of care differs for every field. It may also be identified as formal or informal instructions on how to treat a particular illness. Medical organizations may set their standards of care, and these may take the form of guidelines for medical procedures and a diagnosis manual for the proper detection and treatment of diseases. The standard of care is essential for medical practitioners to perform the “best practice.” Experts of a particular field need to agree regarding the standard of care.

These standards are generated through different methods. First, standards can evolve through time to align with modified medical facts. This method is the natural development of clinical guidelines. In other cases, clinical trials make way for the development of the standard of care. Despite the differences in modes of development, all rules of care are thoroughly thought of and deliberated upon by health care professionals. These guidelines are evidence-based and backed by scientific findings.

Reasonable Care

Personal injury law states that on events when a professional did not perform by the “reasonable person” standard, a negligent act happened. For instance, if a reasonable individual would not do a particular action, then performing the deed would be considered negligence. In the same manner, if an individual would do a specific action that no reasonable person would do, the said action is deemed to be negligent.

However, the reasonable standard is complicated in the field of medicine. It must be emphasized that reasonable care is not equal to ideal care. There are medical complications not caused by a doctor’s negligence. Almost all medical procedures, especially invasive ones, have risks linked to them. Thus, it is essential for physicians to adequately inform the patients regarding the benefits and risks involved in a procedure or medication.

Violation of Standard of Care

A physician violated the standard of care if he or she failed to perform the type of care that a skilled professional with the same background and who belongs to the same medical subfield would have provided if the latter is in the same circumstance. The testimonies of experts in the medical field are required in medical malpractice cases. The experts will explain the standard of their community and the negligent act or inaction of the physician in question.

Various states have passed laws requiring a complainant to have witnesses who are experts in the same field as the physician who allegedly made negligent actions. Some states also demand a complainant to submit the expert’s sworn statement that affirms the physician in question’s violation of the standard of care.

Legal Action

It is unfortunate when medical professionals violate the standard of care required of them. The violation of such guidelines significantly harms a patient. It is only appropriate to take legal actions against the perpetrator of this medical malpractice.

It is advisable to contact an experienced medical malpractice law firm if you or someone you know suspects that your doctor failed to provide the proper standard of care. You deserve fair compensation for the injury you endured.

Get in touch with Mesriani Law Group today!