Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice
The term “standard of care” in medical practice refers to the degree and type of care that a reasonably skilled and competent health care provider with a similar background and practice in the same medical community would have delivered in the circumstances that preceded the alleged malpractice. In other words, the most important question for a medical malpractice case that you should ask yourself is, “Would a similarly qualified health care practitioner have treated me the same way under the same or similar circumstances?” If the answer is “no,” and you suffered harm as a result of the substandard care, you may have a case for medical malpractice. That is where Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers can assist you.
How Do You Determine the Appropriate Standard of Care?
A well-qualified medical witness will almost always testify in a medical malpractice lawsuit about the acceptable medical standard of care given the circumstance and how the doctor’s violation of the standard care contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.
Many states have enacted legislation mandating plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases to employ an expert with experience in the same (or a related) medical area as the defendant. In some states, the plaintiff must also file an affidavit or sworn declaration from the expert witness with the first complaint, attesting that the medical standard of care was violated in the expert’s judgment.
Both the defense and the malpractice plaintiff’s attorneys can call on medical experts to testify on the standard of care that a reasonably competent doctor in the same field would offer in the same set of circumstances.
Does Standard of Care Criteria Vary for Medical Specialists?
Certain healthcare providers (such as cardiologists, neurologists, radiologists, allergists, Ophthalmologists) are regarded as specialists. These professionals have typically undergone extensive training and examinations. They are held to a higher standard of care, i.e., the same level of care that a reasonably competent specialist with the same training and experience would apply under related circumstances.
Does A Mistake by A Medical Professional Mean Malpractice?
Doctors are people, and they, like everyone else, make mistakes. Complications that aren’t the product of human error do occur in the practice of medicine. Some people will never improve from their medical issues, and dissatisfaction with treatment results isn’t enough to establish a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Just because a medical professional or a hospital makes a mistake does not necessarily account for medical malpractice. In order to qualify as malpractice, medical treatment must fall below an appropriate medical standard of care and must cause injury to the patient.
In other words, there is no malpractice until the defendant’s healthcare professional did (or omitted to do) something that fell below the medical standard of care. Similarly, there is no malpractice if a health care provider delivered substandard care, but no one was hurt as a result.
How Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
If you believe that you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of a medical professional’s failure to adhere to the accepted standard of care, you should talk to a qualified Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer. We can look into the facts of your case and assist you in determining if you have a viable legal claim.