Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Case – Violation of the Standard of Care

Any health care provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be held legally responsible for acts of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice, like most personal injury cases, is based on the legal theory of negligence. In Pennsylvania, one of these elements is the existence of a duty and its breach.

Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Case - Violation of the Standard of CareWhile any negligence case requires that a plaintiff proves that the defendant owed him a legal duty of care, a medical malpractice case involves a doctor’s pre-established duty to follow a certain level of care based on the doctor-patient relationship.

All medical practitioners such as doctors, surgeons, nurses, therapists, dentists, pharmacists, and medical facilities owe patients a specific standard of care. Examples of the breach of this duty include the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition, the negligent performance of medical or surgical procedures, the incorrect prescription and dispensing of medication, or care by a medical facility that is substandard.

The concept known as the “standard of care” applies to every medical professional and means that each medical professional must have the same knowledge and skill while exercising the same care normally used in that profession. Every health care provider, whether a doctor, nurse, therapist, etc., must have the knowledge and exercise the skill of her peers.

A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case carries the burden of proving a violation or breach of the applicable standard of care. A medical malpractice plaintiff must prove this violation or breach through the testimony of an expert witness, a professional in the same field as the defendant, who must explain why the defendant violated the standard of care.

This is based on the theory that only a medical professional is qualified to determine whether actual malpractice occurred. Breaches of the standard of care thus typically require some type of sworn statement by another physician attesting that, in his or her expert opinion, the standard of care was breached. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead to learn more about the elements of a medical malpractice case.

If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from an accident or incident of medical malpractice, including surgical errors or negligence during pregnancy or childbirth, contact Attorney James Mundy at Powell Law (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.


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