All physicians and other medical providers have a duty to follow a set of guidelines that outline the standards of care in medicine. There are several questions that an individual may have about the medical standards of care, such as what are the standards of care? Is there one set of standards for all health care providers or different medical standards of care for nurses or other healthcare providers, such as those who work in medical specialties such as cardiology, obstetrics, orthopedics, or endocrinology? There are additional questions that people may have concerning medical malpractice. Who can help victims of medical errors get compensation? How does a person who believes that they have a malpractice claim based on violation of the standards of care file a claim?  

Turn to a law firm that focuses on personal injury law and medical malpractice law. Wapner Newman Attorneys at Law have the knowledge and experience to help people who may have a claim because of medical errors. 

What is the Medical Standard of Care? 

The medical standard of care is the level of care that is required by every medical professional when they provide the necessary care and treatment for every patient. Who determines what the rules are for the medical standard of care? What are the minimum requirements to meet the standard of care? These are just examples of questions that people may have when trying to understand the basic standards of care and examples of standards of care medical issues. The knowledgeable attorneys at Wapner Newman explain the medical standard of care and medical issues that are related to the standards of care for their clients. Experienced attorneys represent clients from the moment that the attorney accepts the case, through the filing of a claim, through the end of the case, to obtain the best possible outcome. 

Several medical and healthcare entities define the medical standard of care, including as it relates to medical malpractice. Why do the various agencies and healthcare governing bodies define it differently, even if only giving a slight variation from another source? Two physicians explained the medical standard of care and provided some issues with the concept of the standards of care in an article published on the National Library of Medicine site. The article, “The Standard of Care: Legal History of Definitions: The Good News and Bad News,” explains that although the concept of medical standards of care is a frequent topic of discussion among doctors, the legal definition of the standards of care is still often not understood by physicians.  

The authors point out that it is important for physicians, including emergency department physicians who are frequently subject to malpractice claims, to understand how the legal system defines the medical standard of care. Physicians also need to understand what standards physicians are being held to when it comes to the legal definition of the standard of care. 

So, what is the definition of the standard of care as it applies to physicians and other professionals who work in the medical field? The Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience published an article where the author explains that medical professionals need to understand that the standard of care is a legal term, rather than a medical term. The standards of care are the degree of care that a prudent and reasonable person would provide or exercise under the circumstances. Each state may have slight variations in the standards of care in their state. This variation may be one of the issues with the standards of care medical issues. 

Concept of the Standards of Care Defined by Multiple Entities 

Courts or various administrative agencies may also have their own definition or concept of the degree of care that is required, which also may present some issues. Some agencies that are related to specific medical specialties may have a definition of the concept of standards of care, which may cause additional confusion when considering the standard of care for physicians or other health care professionals. One example is the American Diabetes Association.  

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) “Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes” provides endocrinologists and other physicians, clinicians, policy makers and others with the components of care as it relates to diabetes, and a variety of tools to evaluate the quality of care as it relates to diabetes standards of care. The American Diabetes Association calls these guidelines for the standards of care “recommendations” rather than set legal or medical standards. They also indicate that while the standard of care is expected to be applied in the excellence of clinical care, the standards should not preclude clinical judgements and must allow for individualized adjustments and preferences.

The fact that the standards of care definitions may be defined or applied differently by medical facilities, agencies, courts and other entities may lead to confusion when a person believes that they may have a claim for medical malpractice because of medical errors. The attorneys at Wapner Newman have the expertise to determine if a person has a claim and how to proceed with the case, along with the standards of care and documentation as it applies to each case. 

Standards of Care and the Intersection of Medicine and the Law 

It is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all malpractice case. Your experienced attorney knows the documentation and evidence that is needed to build your claim and to present your case in court if it goes to court and how to present your case to the jury. The attorney carefully develops their client’s claims based on the facts of each case and the negligence and violations of the standards of care. 

Physicians and other medical professionals who provide care to patients have a responsibility to understand the standards of care and the potential legal consequences for violating the standards of care. This is an example of where the medical field and the legal field intersect with each other. The American Medical Association (AMA) publishes the AMA Journal of Ethics. One article presents an example of a case, and then describes the fact that the standards of care are “a duty determined by a given set of circumstances that presents in a particular patient,” and further explains that the standard of care “is sensitive to time and person and place.” 

The author of the article refers to the definition of the standards of care given by the AMA as “challenging” for doctors. If a physician adheres only to clinical guidelines, rather than standards of care, the physician or other medical care provider may make incorrect decisions and judgements related to diagnosis and treatment. 

Did a physician or other treatment provider fail to diagnose you or a loved one? Did a physician provide an incorrect diagnosis? Did a physician fail to provide you or your loved one with treatment or did the physician provide incorrect treatment? Speak to an experienced attorney who fights for their clients who have a malpractice claim because of medical errors related to the standards of care. We understand the standards of care, the duty that physicians have under standards of care when they see each patient, and how the negligence of physicians may lead to a malpractice claim. 

Remember, you do not have to have a malpractice claim based on an injury that you sought treatment for at the emergency department. Some incidents where the physician or certain other medical professionals fail to abide by the standards of care may actually cause an injury. Examples of this are when a birth injury causes cerebral palsy or when a bad C-section causes injury to the mother or child. It is important to know that not every bad C-section or birth injury may lead to a valid claim of medical malpractice. Do you believe that your child experienced a birth injury or that you experienced a bad C-section or another type of injury because of medical malpractice?

Wapner Newman attorneys have the legal knowledge to evaluate every claim and to determine whether you have a legal claim for malpractice. Your attorney will work with you throughout the case and will keep you informed at every step of the way, through the end of the case, when you receive the best outcome for your individual case. 

How Does my Attorney Know if I Have a Medical Malpractice Case? 

Every person who believes that they may have a malpractice claim because of violation of the standards of care will not have a case that can be filed with the court. Certain standards must be met before an attorney can file a medical malpractice claim. Standards of Care explains that every patient can have a reasonable expectation to have a certain level of care from medical providers. If the standard of care is not met, and you, the patient, is harmed by violation of the standard of care, there may be a valid claim for violations of the standards of care. 

Standards of Care also indicates that a patient may experience harm or even die as a result of medical malpractice. This is another example of how the medical and legal fields intersect, and how an experienced malpractice attorney may bring a medical malpractice lawsuit that can provide the client with the justice and the compensation that they deserve.  

The attorney knows how to gather the facts, documentation, witness statements and other evidence that is needed to build and present a medical malpractice case. Attorneys with exceptional knowledge and experience working with clients who are victims of medical malpractice may be able to win a case, and help the client to recover damages and move forward after the conclusion of the case. 

What are the four legal elements of medical malpractice that your attorney will work towards to provide the best possible outcome and that may have the best chance of bringing a successful medical malpractice case? First, the attorney establishes that there was indeed an existence of a medical relationship. The attorney then determines that the physician or other medical professional violated the standards of care, which led to a breach of their professional duty.  

Did the negligence of the physician or other medical provider cause harm? If your attorney determines that the breach of duty and other negligence on the part of the medical provider led to injury or harm to the patient, the attorney may continue building the medical malpractice case. Finally, the attorney determines if there were damages because of the harm to the patient. There must be specific damages and significant damages to the patient.  

What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice? 

There are many examples of medical malpractice, some of which are more common than others when a person seeks guidance from an experienced attorney, such as those at Wapner Newman. Some examples of medical malpractice include: 

  • Misdiagnosis can lead to the patient receiving incorrect treatment or no treatment 
  • Failure to diagnose a medical condition which may lead to a lack of treatment being administered to the patient 
  • Failure to recognize the symptoms in a patient may lead to a lack of treatment or incorrect treatment 
  • Surgical errors or performing unnecessary surgery on a patient
  • Errors made during the administration of anesthesia 
  • Prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital or another health care facility

The attorney knows the many other examples of malpractice and will consider whether any malpractice occurred when considering each potential claim. Turn to Wapner Newman when you believe that you have a claim for medical malpractice. We know the standards of care and how physicians and other medical professionals must abide by them when caring for every patient.  

The attorneys at Wapner Newman determine if your experience meets the guidelines and the requirements for proving a violation of the standards of care. Do not automatically assume that you may not have a legal claim for malpractice. Reach out to Wapner Newman and let the experienced attorneys determine if you are likely to have a claim for medical malpractice and if we can help you like we try to help other victims of medical errors get compensation when they have a valid medical malpractice case.