What Is the Medical Standard of Care?

If a doctor’s misdiagnosis, poor care, or negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer harm, we can help. The Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers at Dickerson Oxton, LLC have experience in such cases, and we will work to get you the most compensation possible for your injuries.

Medical malpractice happens when a health care professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or hospital, causes a patient injury through negligence or omission. Malpractice can happen because of diagnosis errors, wrong treatment, or lack of aftercare.

The Medical Standard of Care

Medical malpractice has to do with something called the “standard of care.” Courts often use standard of care as a common phrase when it comes to medical malpractice cases; however, practicing physicians themselves rarely use the words. Standard of care relates to the level of attention and care a health care professional regularly provides people under similar circumstances in the same community.

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

Most people think that when a doctor makes a mistake, he or she has committed malpractice. This is not true. If a doctor in a similar situation might have made the same mistake, then there is no malpractice. If, however, another doctor would have acted differently, there may be evidence for a malpractice case.

In a situation where the doctor acted in a way a similarly trained doctor wouldn’t have acted, the patient would have had to suffer harm to file a lawsuit. Even if a care provider gives sub-standard care, a person may not file a medical malpractice suit unless he or she suffered an injury because of negligence.

Proving the Standard of Care

Most of the time, a medical expert’s testimonial is necessary to prove a medical malpractice case. This expert should be a doctor within the same or similar field as the one who committed the sub-standard care.

The health care professional giving the testimony in court will then have to:

  • Detail the appropriate standard of care to the court
  • Explain how the patient’s level of care did not meet that standard of care
  • Explain how this substandard care caused the patient harm.

Potential Damages to Recover

When a health care professional acts negligently in his or her care for patients, the consequences can be quite severe. From wrong limb operations and materials left in the body to wrongful death, lack of proper medical care can be devastating. Medical malpractice lawsuits can lead to the recovery of damages such as:

  • Pain and suffering. This type of damage varies widely from case to case and court to court, because there are no set rules to determine how much pain or suffering a person experienced.
  • Medical bills. This type of damage is more straightforward, of course, but limited to the bills incurred after the malpractice occurred.
  • Lost wages. A person may recover lost salary or hourly wages due to injury or harm from a medical malpractice case.
  • Lost earning capacity. If a person suffers serious harm and can no longer do certain activities, he or she may be able to receive compensation for this loss.

Doctors aren’t the only ones who may be responsible for your injuries. If the hospital didn’t have proper staffing, had poor hiring practices, or failed in its duty of care, the organization may owe you compensation. Contacting a qualified Kansas City personal injury attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases can lead to a more favorable outcome in these types of cases.