The standard of care is an essential concept in any medical malpractice claim. Healthcare providers must follow certain guidelines based on available medical knowledge when diagnosing and treating patients. These guidelines are known as standards of care. When providers deviate from accepted practices, they breach the standard of care.
If you suspect your provider injured you by ignoring the appropriate standards of care during your treatment, you could be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim. At the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, we are well-positioned to help you demand the justice you deserve. Our principal attorney, Dr. Michael Wilson, is a licensed physician as well as a lawyer, giving him valuable insight into the complexities of medical malpractice cases and how to help victims demand accountability from negligent providers.
When most personal injury lawyers handle medical malpractice cases, they must rely on the testimony of hired experts. But Dr. Wilson’s medical background and decades of experience focusing exclusively on malpractice law mean he can evaluate intersecting legal and medical issues concurrently, eliminating the risk of miscommunication or misunderstanding. This distinctive advantage gives our firm’s clients an upper hand when pursuing compensation for medical malpractice.
Over the past 30 years, Dr. Wilson has recovered more than $100 million in fair compensation for deserving clients. Contact our law firm today to learn how we can help. The first consultation is free.
What is a Standard of Care?
A standard of care is the level of attentiveness and care that someone owes to another person, usually in a professional setting. In a medical context, the standard of care is the level and quality of medical care that physicians, nurses, other providers, and healthcare facilities should provide to their patients.
Examples of common medical standards of care include:
- Using the same degree of skill and care that a reasonably competent medical professional with similar training would use in similar circumstances
- Conducting patient medical evaluations consistently and uniformly
- Complying with restrictions outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Causing no harm and refraining from aggravating, accelerating, or worsening any patient’s health condition
If a physician, nurse, or medical provider fails or refuses to treat patients to the best of their ability, they may be found negligent under the law. Patients who suffer harm as a result can seek compensation through medical malpractice claims.
How Does a Breach Affect a Medical Malpractice Case?
A medical malpractice case can’t proceed without proof of a breach of the standard of care. A breach exists when another healthcare provider in the same or similar circumstances would have treated a patient differently than the provider in question.
Proving that a breach of the medical standard of care occurred is one of the four elements that must exist to pursue a medical malpractice claim. The evidence must show:
- The healthcare provider had a responsibility to a patient – This is often the easiest element to prove, but it’s crucial. A claimant must demonstrate that a provider-patient relationship existed, which presupposes that the provider owed them a certain standard of care.
- The provider failed to uphold their responsibility – Satisfying this element means proving the provider breached the medical standard of care owed to the patient.
- The patient suffered actual, measurable harm – To receive compensation, patients must demonstrate they endured additional harm or needless suffering from the provider’s treatment (or failure to treat) the illness. When patients are already sick or injured before seeking treatment, it can be challenging to prove the additional or aggravated conditions without extensive medical records.
- The provider’s negligence directly harmed the patient – Finally, the claimant must show a direct, causal link between the provider’s breach of the standard of care and the harm they suffered.
No two medical malpractice cases are identical, so the standard in a given case can be difficult to define without further details. Dr. Wilson can use his medical and legal background to identify breaches of the medical standards of care and hold negligent providers liable if you’ve been hurt.
What Are Examples of a Breach of Duty?
Healthcare providers can fail to meet the standard of care in many ways. Common types of medical negligence include:
- Failure to diagnose a patient’s condition
- Delayed diagnosis
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgical errors, such as leaving tools and sponges in patients’ bodies
- Wrong-side surgery
- Wrong-site surgery
- Wrong-patient procedures
- Inadequate post-op care and infections
- Labor, delivery, or neonatal injuries to mothers or babies
- Prescribing incorrect medications or dosages
- Administering wrong medications or dosages
- Anesthesia errors
- Negligent discharge or failure to treat a patient
What Are The Steps in Proving a Breach of the Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The first step in proving that a breach of the standard of care occurred is establishing what the appropriate standard should have been. To do so, medical malpractice attorneys typically evaluate the performances and abilities of practicing physicians in similar fields and locations as the defendant.
Next, the attorney must show how the clinician did not follow the accepted standard of care and that the patient suffered preventable injuries or complications due to these oversights. Medical notes, test results, drug prescriptions, imaging scans, and other records can help build a compelling case. The records from the provider who took over the injured patient’s care can also help support a medical malpractice claim.
As a licensed physician, Dr. Wilson is well-versed in the appropriate medical standards of care and skilled in identifying possible breaches. He will review medical records and interview compelling expert witnesses to obtain valuable evidence supporting his client’s cases.
Get Help from a Top Medical Malpractice Attorney Now
At the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, our dedicated team is prepared to handle every aspect of your medical malpractice claim. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.