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What Standard of Care Exists in the Medical Field?

One of the most important elements of a medical malpractice claim is the plaintiff’s ability to prove the defendant (typically a doctor or hospital) failed to provide the “standard of care” expected out of a medical professional. But what exactly is the standard of care that exists in the medical field?

Generally, the medical standard of care can be defined as the care one could expect to receive from a prudent healthcare professional with the same level of training and experience and under the same circumstances as the defendant. In a medical malpractice claim, the overarching question that must be answered is whether a healthcare professional with the same skillset would have provided the same treatment under the same circumstances. If the answer is “no” and the plaintiff suffered damage as a result of substandard care, medical malpractice could be at play.

Plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case must establish the standard of care, testify how their treatment was below the standard of care and establish a clear causal link between that substandard care and the harm they suffered.

Standards of care can fluctuate

Although the above definition of the medical standard of care is sufficient for most general practitioners, there are some medical specialists who have heightened standards of care. Examples include neurologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, ophthalmologists and cardiologists.

These professionals have gone through specific education and training. The standard becomes that they are expected to provide the same standard of care that a reasonably competent specialist with similar experience and training would demonstrate in the same situation.

For further guidance when exploring a medical malpractice claim, contact a dedicated personal injury lawyer with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.