Standard Of Care

Standard Of Care Understand what a doctor's standard of care is and how this standard is important to a medical malpractice case.

In the practice of medicine, the standard of care is the level of care that an average, prudent provider would be expected to give to a patient. It is the way a reasonable doctor, possessing the same background and education and faced with the same circumstances, would have acted in a given situation.

The standard of care is an important component of a medical malpractice case. For the plaintiff to prevail, they must show it is more likely than not that the defendant failed to uphold their standard of care when treating the plaintiff.

What “Reasonable Person” Means When Determining the Standard of Care

Since medicine is such a broad field, encompassing hundreds of disciplines and addressing countless unique situations, it is impossible to imply a single, cut-and-dry standard of care to any circumstance a doctor or medical provider might face.
In an effort to create a fluid standard flexible enough to apply to such a broad range of circumstances, the medical community developed the “reasonable person” test.

The person in question is not a specific, living, breathing human. Rather, it is a stand-in representing a reasonable and prudent medical provider faced with the same situation as the one whose conduct is being judged.

Reasonable Person Example

Here is an example to show how a lawyer might use the reasonable person test to show that their client’s doctor failed to uphold the standard of care.

Suppose the plaintiff went to the doctor complaining of certain symptoms. The doctor conducted a perfunctory exam and then dismissed the ailment as something minor that the patient could treat with an over-the-counter medicine. A couple of months later, the patient returned, complaining of the same symptoms, stating they never fully went away. Again, the doctor recommended an over-the-counter product and sent the patient home.

Finally, the patient sees another doctor, who orders much more robust testing. The tests confirm the patient has cancer.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The patient may be able to file a malpractice lawsuit against the first doctor for failure to diagnose cancer. The patient’s lawyer may hire expert medical witnesses to assess the situation and give their opinions on how another doctor in the same situation would have acted.

If the experts agree that another doctor — the “reasonable person” — more than likely would have diagnosed the cancer, then the first doctor has breached their duty of care.

Call Newsome Melton Today at 855-633-2757

The medical malpractice lawyers at Newsome Melton want to help you recover compensation for your injuries. We fight aggressively to hold the person who caused you harm liable.

For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call 855-633-2757 today.

Standard Of Care - Frequently Asked Questions

If You Prove Your Doctor Violated ‘Standard of Care’, Do You Win Your Case?
19 mar
If You Prove Your Doctor Violated ‘Standard of Care’, Do You Win Your Case?

Proving your doctor violated a “standard of care” is a major hurdle to clear toward winning your medical malpractice case, but it is not all that is required to be awarded damages. You first must prove that your doctor owed you a standard of care to begin with, and you must demonstrate that by violating

Read More
How Is A Brain Stem Stroke Diagnosed?
21 feb
How Is A Brain Stem Stroke Diagnosed?

Doctors typically diagnose brain stem strokes via imaging tests, the most common being magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and angiogram. Because a brain stem stroke is a legitimate medical emergency, the sooner one of these tests gets performed and a diagnosis rendered, the better the patient’s chances of long-term recovery. If a brain

Read More

Standard Of Care - News Articles

New York City Hospitals Taking Huge Risk Without Medical Malpractice Insurance
01 oct
New York City Hospitals Taking Huge Risk Without Medical Malpractice Insurance

According to a recent article in the New York Times, some of the city’s busiest hospitals are practicing a disturbing new trend when it comes to protecting themselves from mistakes. Many hospitals have reduced the amount of medical malpractice insurance coverage that they pay for, and some facilities are even completely forgoing malpractice insurance. Because

Read More
20 mar
Jury Finds Texas Hospital and Doctor Liable for Medical Malpractice; Patient Awarded $43 Million

According to research conducted by John Hopkins University, 10 to 15 percent of the United States adult population have gallstone disease and around 800,000 operations are performed each year. The majority of patients suffering from gallstones do not require surgery, but the procedure is very common and statistically very safe. Billy Pierce, who is now

Read More