What does “standard of care” have to do with a medical malpractice claim?

It’s absolutely devastating to go to a doctor or a hospital and end up worse off than before you started. In some cases, people even die from the lack of proper or timely medical treatment.

Just the same, not every poor outcome is a sign of medical malpractice. One of the issues that has to be considered in every possible case is whether the doctor, clinic or hospital met the appropriate “standard of care” for the situation.

Why the standard of care in medicine differs so widely

In an ideal world, everybody would get the same high-level diagnostic services, medical treatment, surgeries and aftercare as everyone else — but that’s not the reality we live in.

Legally, the appropriate standard of care is whatever the average, prudent medical provider would do in a similar situation given their qualifications and resources.

In other words, you can expect a general practitioner in a small, rural town with little access to diagnostic facilities to provide a different (lower) standard of care than a specialist with years of experience and access to all of the latest technologies at a major medical center.

In terms of a medical malpractice claim, it would be more understandable for a small town doctor to miss the early warning signs of lung cancer than it would be for a pulmonologist at a place like  Cleveland Clinic.

Discussing your potential medical malpractice claim with an attorney is essential

Medical malpractice claims are always complex, and there are a lot of variables. No two situations are exactly alike. Don’t guess about your rights or options. If you think you were a victim of malpractice or a loved one may have died from a doctor’s mistake, talk to an attorney today.