What is “Standard of Care” in Medical Malpractice Suits?
Medicine is a very complicated science and it’s not always easy for doctors to reach the correct conclusion right away. In many cases, the symptoms of one illness or condition may be extremely similar to the symptoms of another and when it’s difficult to reach a correct diagnosis, there’s a chance that patients will receive improper treatment.
Just because it’s easy for mistakes to occur while diagnosing and treating patients, that doesn’t necessarily mean doctors are completely off the hook when mistakes happen. But at the same time, a medical error might not necessarily be found to be medical malpractice. In cases of medical malpractice, the case revolves around a concept known as the “medical standard of care.”
Basically, the medical standard of care asks the hypothetical question, “Would another doctor with comparable training and professional experience, who is working under similar circumstances, have treated a patient in the same way?” If the answer to this is “no,” then a case would be found to be medical malpractice.It’s important to note that there is no one firm, official definition for the medical standard of care. It’s a legal concept that can have slightly different definitions from state to state. However, this is typically the basic essence of the concept.
It’s also important to note that the medical standard of care can be a higher standard for some doctors than it is for others. For example, if a medical malpractice case involves a specialist of some type, the medical standard of care could be a higher bar to reach than it would be for a general practitioner.
Since the medical standard of care is a legal standard, not a medical standard, an expert witness will be brought in to help establish that standard. Most typically, this expert witness is another doctor who has a similar background and practices in the same field of medicine as the doctor involved in the medical malpractice suit. Very often, an expert witness is required in medical malpractice cases and a lawyer will be able to help you figure out if an expert witness is needed in your case.
Medical malpractice cases are never simple. Even in cases that seem like extremely obvious instances of malpractice, trying to handle a malpractice claim on your own can be extremely difficult. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a medical error, one of the best things you can do is contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from an experienced Michigan medical malpractice lawyer who can help answer all of your questions and work with you to move forward with your case. Contact us today to get started.