Medical Malpractice and the Standard of Care

We often expect professionals to treat us a certain way based on our understanding of their responsibilities. The medical field is no different. In fact, the standard of care applied to medical treatments gives rise to decisions that are literally life or death. Sometimes, a healthcare provider’s mistake breaches the standard of care and leads to a medical malpractice claim. It is critical that you understand what the standard of care means and what to do when a provider fails.

The Standard of Care for Medical Professionals

This important principle can be defined as:

“1.       A diagnostic and treatment process that a clinician should follow for a certain type of patient, illness, or clinical circumstance.”

“2.       In legal terms, the level at which the average, prudent provider in a given community would practice. It is how similarly qualified practitioners would have managed the patient’s care under the same or similar circumstances.”

For example, the standard of care might require a doctor to provide a certain type of chemotherapy depending on cancer type. A doctor who uses a breast cancer treatment protocol on a patient with lung cancer might have breached the standard of care.

Under the second definition above, a specialist might be expected to act like other specialists in the field. For example, a heart surgeon is expected to perform surgery using the standard of care followed by other heart surgeons.

When medical professionals breach their duty to care, patients can get hurt.

When Medical Malpractice Is Committed

Do you feel your doctors or other healthcare providers breached their standard of care when treating you? If so, you might have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Generally, four elements must be proven in a medical malpractice case:

  • Duty. Your healthcare provider had a duty to provide a certain level of care to you.
  • Breach the Standard of Care. The provider failed in some way to meet the standard of care.
  • Causation. That breach caused your injuries or harmed you in some way.
  • Damages. You have real damages because of your injuries. Damages can be physical, emotional, or financial.

Your medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case to see if you have a medical malpractice claim.

Breaching the Standard of Care Can Lead to a Medical Malpractice Case

Many instances of malpractice are never pursued. Medical malpractice claims are complicated, requiring experienced legal representation.

Powell Law features James F. Mundy, Esq., as an attorney who has successfully litigated medical malpractice cases for several decades. Since 1956, our practice has evolved litigating personal injury claims, including medical malpractice cases, and building a body of knowledge and expertise that unquestionably provides our clients with an incomparable advantage. Powell Law has an established 115-year-old reputation throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE.

Request a Free Consultation

Contact Us