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

Can You File A Malpractice Lawsuit For Newborn Asphyxia?
18 aug
Can You File A Malpractice Lawsuit For Newborn Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia is also known as intrauterine hypoxia, or IH. It occurs when an infant does not receive enough oxygen at some point before, during, or after delivery. Without oxygen, brain cells, and other tissues will be unable to function properly. This will cause waste build-up and severe damage from the excess acids. If it

Read More
What Are Some of the Most Common Reasons Why Legitimate Medical Malpractice Claims Go Unexplored?
19 apr
What Are Some of the Most Common Reasons Why Legitimate Medical Malpractice Claims Go Unexplored?

There are many common reasons why legitimate medical malpractice claims go unexplored. Every year, there are valid claims that people do not file, either by choice or for another reason. For help understanding if you have a valid medical malpractice claim, call the attorneys at Newsome Melton at 1-855-MED-ASKS. Why Are Some Legitimate Claims Never Explored?

Read More

Standard Of Care - News Articles

21 may
Pennsylvania Jury Finds Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Negligent for Wrongful Death; Family Awarded $3 Million

James DeGeorge woke up on a cold December morning in 2014 with severe pain coming from his chest. DeGeorge was rushed into the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital located in Darby, Pennsylvanian, which is about seven miles west of Philadelphia. He was 84 at the time and his doctors decided that a pacemaker would help regulate his

Read More
Malpractice Quickly Enters Joan Rivers Conversation
08 sep
Malpractice Quickly Enters Joan Rivers Conversation

As the shock of comedienne Joan Rivers’ death continues to swirl, a new conversation has begun to take a prominent place in the conversation: Was Rivers the victim of medical malpractice? Speculation about what happened in New York City’s Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic is all over the map with the media, the public and attorneys weighing

Read More