Medical Malpractice:

Standard of Care

According to Black's Law Dictionary, the medical standard of care is "that degree of care which a reasonably prudent person should exercise in same or similar circumstances." In terms of medical malpractice, it refers to how a similarly-qualified doctor would have provided treatment to a given patient under the same or similar circumstances. If a doctor’s conduct falls outside the standard of care, he or she may be found liable for any injuries that resulted from the negligent conduct. In a medical malpractice case, the defendant's behavior is compared with the applicable standard of care in order to determine if he or she acted negligently.

One of the most important aspects of a medical malpractice lawsuit is establishing the standard of care to be applied to the health care professional. This is usually established through expert testimony. To find a medical professional legally at fault, it must be shown that his or her conduct fell below the generally accepted standard of medical care. Some doctors are held to a higher standard of care than others. For example, OB/GYNs are held to a higher standard of care than general practitioners.

Majority and Minority Standard of Care

The medical standard of care that must be proven in a medical malpractice lawsuit is not necessarily the majority standard of care.  That is, what a majority of physicians would have done under the same or similar circumstances may not be considered acceptable by a jury.  If there is different a standard of care established by a respectable minority of similarly qualified medical professionals, and if a jury sees this standard of care as necessary to the situation in question, they may hold the defendant responsible according to that standard.

If you suspect that a medical professional failed to adhere to the standard of care while providing treatment to you or a loved one, and an injury has been suffered as a result, you may be entitled to recover medical malpractice damages. Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer today to learn your rights.