Standard Of Care
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
Whenever one visits a medical clinic, hospital, or other related facility, they run the risk of acquiring a hospital acquired infection, which is another term for an infection that one picked up or developed within a medical unit such as a hospital. Studies have shown that up to five percent of patients who enter aRead More
If you suffered medical malpractice injuries at the hands of a military doctor or at a VA facility, you may sue the responsible party—with one notable exception. Active duty servicemembers cannot file a lawsuit against the military due to the Feres Doctrine. To find out if you qualify to sue the military for medical malpractice,Read More
Standard Of Care - News Articles
According to the American Cancer Society, one out of every nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Due to advances in treatment, only one in 41 will die. The key is an early diagnosis. Michael E. Gunter, a Vietnam War veteran, was lucky to survive his bout with prostate cancer,Read More
The Law of Medical Malpractice in Maine: A Survey of Basic Considerations Maine medical malpractice law is among the most complex legal practice areas. The statutes, case law, and regulations governing medical malpractice law in Maine are highly technical. For instance, there are very strict and complicated filing deadlines that must be followed, or the injuredRead More