Understanding the Importance of the Medical Standard of Care
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An Overview of Standard of Care in Florida

What is the Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you have ever wondered if there was a guiding standard for medical treatment, you are not alone. Though most people will never have to dive into this particular topic, the reality is that the standard of medical care is critically important for individuals who sustain injuries or illness due to the negligent actions of a medical professional.

The Medical Standard of Care – Explained in Simple Terms

One of the reasons medical malpractice claims are so challenging is that the medical field itself is very complex. Dealing with the human body involves a significant amount of unknowns and unpredictability. The reality is that not every person who sustains an injury or illness caused by a medical procedure will have a medical malpractice claim.

However, many do experience medical malpractice, but understanding whether or not a medical professional can be held liable involves comparing their treatment to a theoretical scenario to determine whether or not the standard of care was met for that particular patient.

We know that what we are about to explain can be confusing, and we encourage you to reach out to a member of our medical malpractice team if you have any questions about your particular case.

Understanding the medical standard of care requires examining what is, for all intents and purposes, a made-up individual. The made-up individual will have the same education and credentials as the alleged medical professional facing a lawsuit. The idea is to use this theoretical medical professional to understand whether the actions of the allegedly negligent medical professional are in line with standard medical procedures.

To do so, a jury will be asked to compare whether or not this theoretically similarly trained medical professional would have performed the same actions or procedures as the allegedly negligent medical professional in the same type of environment and a similar community.

If the answer is “No,” the theoretical medical professional would have done something different, then there may be a claim of negligence against the alleged negligent provider. If the theoretical medical professional would have done the same thing as the alleged negligent medical professional facing a lawsuit, then it is unlikely the claim will fund success.

Why Does This Standard Matter?

In the context of medical practice, this standard is crucial because it sets the baseline for assessing the quality of care patients receive. If a healthcare provider fails to meet this standard, and a patient suffers an injury as a result, it could lead to allegations of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice occurs when a provider’s action or inaction, which deviates from the accepted standard of care, causes harm to a patient. For example, if a doctor fails to perform a necessary test that any other competent doctor would have done, and this oversight leads to a patient’s condition worsening, it could be considered a failure to meet the medical standard of care.

Each healthcare professional is judged against the “customary practices” of their peers, which means the typical practices followed by other professionals in their field and region. However, it’s important to understand that complications or negative outcomes in medical treatment do not automatically imply negligence. Many medical procedures carry inherent risks, and not all adverse results are due to failure to meet the standard of care.

Steps to Take if You Have Been Harmed By a Medical Professional’s Actions

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to a negligent medical provider, reach out to an attorney as quickly as possible. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer in West Palm Beach can offer a free consultation and help guide you toward the best path for recovering compensation. Medical malpractice claims are challenging, and you need an attorney by your side to stand up to aggressive insurance carriers and well-funded legal teams.