Medical Malpractice: What Is the Standard of Care and Why It Matters?
Suffering an injury while under the care of a medical professional can be a traumatizing experience. Whether it is during a surgical procedure or merely while at a dentist’s office, feelings of betrayal typically are immediate. A patient naturally puts his/her trust in the medical professional, and, if there is a preventable problem, the patient typically feels as if he/she was let down, and looks to hold the medical professional accountable. Retaining the services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney is crucial to strategizing a viable case to recover the costs associated with the injury, as well as any pain and suffering incurred by the injured patient. Recently, former Philadelphia Eagle, and current Buffalo Bill, Jordan Matthews was interviewed, and he alluded to the fact that, due to the differences in quality between the Eagle and Bill medical staffs, his confidence in the Eagle staff was shaken after being traded to Buffalo. A discussion of what needs to be proven in a medical malpractice lawsuit, including an establishment of a standard of care, and why the standard of care is so critical to the success of the lawsuit, will follow below.
The Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Matters
In all medical malpractice suits, the first element that needs to be established is the standard of care that the defendant medical professional is alleged to have breached. As is evident from the cited statute, the standard of care is determined, typically on a case-by-case basis, by the medical community.
It is notable that the standard of care does not refer to what a perfect medical professional would do, but rather, is more of a reasonably competent medical professional. In other words, the acceptable standard of care is the level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar medical professionals. Typically, the standard of care is determined through medical expert testimony, but also through other forms of evidence such as medical texts, literature, and publications from medical-related groups.
The Importance of an Appropriate Standard of Care
Since testimony and evidence are used to establish an appropriate standard of care in a medical malpractice matter, its importance cannot be overstated. The next element in a medical malpractice case is proving that the actions of the medical professional did not meet the standard of care. Thus, a standard of care that is exceptionally low would almost certainly mean that the defendant medical professional can prove that he/she met it, meaning no recovery for the injured plaintiff.
Consequently, working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is necessary to ensure that the standard of care is appropriate, and, most importantly, advantageous to the plaintiff. Through the medical malpractice attorney, the injured patient will provide details and case-specific information to a medical expert, who will then testify concerning the elements of medical malpractice, including the standard of care, based on his/her opinion. It is through this process, relying on legal team of the patient and the medical expert, that a viable, thorough, and accurate standard of care can be presented to the judge and jury.
Let Us Help You Today
If you, or someone you love, were injured as the result of an interaction with a medical professional, and you are curious as to the available options for recovering the costs associated with the injury, contact the attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. Our experience in medical malpractice is extensive, and we can help formulate an appropriate standard of care. Further, after reviewing the circumstances of your situation to determine whether a claim for medical malpractice can be made, we will work with you to devise the best strategy to ensure appropriate relief is obtained. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.