In most medical malpractice cases, the term “standard of care” plays a significant role. Success hinges on whether the claimant can prove a “breach of the standard of care” in a medical malpractice case. The job of the patient’s attorney is to prove that the health care provider had a standard of care to the patient and that they did not uphold it.
Medical malpractice refers to a situation in which a doctor or other health care provider inadequately cares for a patient, and harm or injury results. Inadequate care can be anything from failing to diagnose a medical condition or not following up with a patient after surgery. It can also include more sinister actions, such as the intentional infliction of pain or damage.
If the patient and their attorney can demonstrate a breach of the standard of care leading to injury and financial, emotional, or physical damages, they might be able to win a malpractice lawsuit.
For help with your medical malpractice case, call the attorneys at Newsome | Melton today 1-855-MED-ASKS. We offer free consultations and case reviews.
What Is the Standard of Care?
Standard of care is a term describing the level of care and service a doctor must give a patient in a particular medical situation. No specific list of across-the-board requirements exists because every situation is different. The level of a care a doctor must uphold during a splinter removal, for example, differs from the level of care open heart surgery requires.
To determine whether a doctor met the standard of care for a given situation, we ask what a competent doctor with the same skills, training, and equipment would have done in a similar situation.
If we can reasonably determine that another doctor could have provided a higher level of care, the defendant in your case may have committed malpractice.
What Are Some Examples of Breaches of the Standard of Care?
The following examples commonly come up in medical malpractice cases.
Failure to Diagnose
Failing to diagnose a disease often qualifies as a breach of the standard of care. If other doctors would have diagnosed your condition with the same information, then the doctor who failed to do so might be negligent.
A doctor who misdiagnoses a patient with the wrong condition might have breached the standard of care if evidence shows that other doctors with the same information could have come to an accurate diagnosis.
Lack of Follow-Up Care
A doctor’s duty to a patient does not end once the surgery or procedure in question is complete. Complications often arise in the days and weeks that follow, making follow-up care a crucial part of the process. If a doctor failed to uphold the standard of follow-up care, they may have breached their duty.
Misreading or Misinterpreting Lab Results
Because doctors often make decisions based on lab test results, they must practice diligence when reading and interpreting these results. Failure to do so can amount to a breach of the standard of care.
Prescription Drug Errors
Prescription drugs have more powerful effects in the body than over-the-counter medications, which is why the government requires doctor and pharmacist supervision of their use. If a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or the wrong dosage, serious or even fatal complications may result.
While rare, intentionally inflicting harm on a patient easily qualifies as a breach of the standard of care. These cases might result in criminal charges on top of civil liability.
Can I Win My Medical Malpractice Claim by Proving a Breach of the Standard of Care?
While proving a breach is not in itself enough to win a claim, it is a crucial component of a successful case.
Once we establish a breach of the standard of care, we must tie the case together by proving a causal link between the doctor’s breach and physical, emotional, or financial damages you suffered.
In other words, we must prove that the doctor’s breach of the standard of care caused your injuries. We often do this by calling upon medical evidence and expert witness testimony.
How Can I Set up a Free Attorney Consultation to Discuss My Medical Malpractice Case?
The attorneys at Newsome | Melton are eager to help with your medical malpractice case. We want to help you receive the compensation you deserve so you can get your life back.
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