Examining the Standard of Care for Medical Malpractice Cases
A medical malpractice case is a type of personal injury claim. Essentially, medical malpractice can happen whenever a doctor of similar healthcare professional commits an error. If that error results in harm or injury to a patient, then the patient may be able to sue for medical malpractice.
An essential component of any medical malpractice case involves the standard of care. In order to prove negligence and prevail in a medical malpractice claim, the patient must demonstrate that the healthcare professional breached their standard of care. In order to gain a full appreciation of the standard of care in Maryland, the following sections will provide key definitions and evidentiary considerations.
Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases
The term “standard of care” refers to the legal standard for negligence in medical malpractice cases. Stated otherwise, standard of care refers to the baseline requirements that a medical professional must adhere to when treating a patient.
In order to determine the proper standard of care for a particular patient, there are numerous factors that come into play. Before making a determination of the standard of care, the court or jury must consider:
- The patient’s illness or disability;
- The patient’s age and development;
- The patient’s medical history; and
- The doctor’s specialization and training.
At this juncture, it is vital to note that there is not a precise definition of standard of care that applies to every patient. That is because each patient represents a completely unique medical situation. As outlined above, numerous factors play into the determination of standard of care in a medical malpractice case.
Evidence of the Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice case, the patient must show that the doctor or healthcare professional breached their standard of care. As discussed in the previous section, however, the standard of care changes from patient to patient.
As a result, the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will bring in other doctors as expert witnesses. These expert witnesses will testify to the court and jury about their experiences in the practice of medicine, including the standard of care that they employ in patient interactions. In most cases, the expert witness will attempt to demonstrate:
- Care — What is the standard of care for a particular patient, considering their condition, age and history?
- Breach — How did a doctor or healthcare professional breach or disregard the standard of care in treating the patient?
- Causation — Did the doctor or healthcare cause an injury to the patient when breaching their standard of care?
- Injury — What is the precise nature and extent of the patient’s injury?
Contact Us Today for Help
If you or a loved one suffered harm or injury as a result of medical malpractice in Maryland, it can be exceedingly helpful to retain the services of a skilled personal injury attorney. Don’t hesitate to contact Iamele & Iamele, LLP for help today.