What is standard of care in medical malpractice?

A doctor has specific duties to their patients. One of these is the duty to provide them with an acceptable level of care. This is known as the standard of care, but there isn’t one universal standard that all doctors must abide by in all cases. Instead, the standard is dependent upon several factors. 

The standard of care is based on what a prudent doctor would do if they were in the same situation as your doctor. Some of the factors that are used to determine this include:

  • The information available: The doctor can only diagnose patients based on what information they provide, what’s in their medical record, and the results of diagnostic testing. You must tell the doctor about all the symptoms you’re experiencing so they can choose the appropriate testing to determine what’s going on. 
  • The doctor’s training: Some doctors have more training in one area than others. This is why general practitioners send patients to specialists. You’d reasonably expect better care for a condition if you see a specialist for it.
  • The technology available: You’d likely receive a higher standard of care from a doctor with access to a cutting edge medical facility than you would from a rural practitioner who has older equipment without any access to newer equipment.

If your claim for medical malpractice is dependent upon showing that the doctor breached the standard of care was applicable in your case, you’ll likely need an expert to testify about the matter. This can be difficult because many medical professionals shy away from speaking out against their colleagues. Working with an attorney who has experience in this area can help to get everything in order for your claim.