What Is the Medical Standard of Care?

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When gathering evidence for a medical malpractice case, one of the most important positions to argue is that the accused medical professional did not perform according to the standard of care required by his or her profession. This point is crucial in most medical malpractice cases, because it is the hardest to prove. Without this piece, there’s no malpractice.

Medical Standard of Care, Defined

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A typical definition of the medical standard of care in malpractice cases asks if another physician would have provided similar treatment, considering the skill of the medical professional in question and the circumstances surrounding this particular case.

This is a general definition, however, and will likely be more specific to the healthcare field in which the accused professional practices.

Proving Substandard Care

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The exact definition of standard of care depends on the expert witness who testifies on your behalf. This professional should practice the same kind of medicine as the accused professional and be able to define an appropriate standard of care. In addition, this witness will also be responsible for providing medical evidence that the accused did not perform up to the standard of care, which harmed you as a direct result.

Medical Review Panel

Before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will first have to file a medical malpractice claim with the Indiana Department of Insurance. Your claim will then be evaluated by a medical review panel consisting of three physicians.

These three physicians will look at your case and attempt to determine what the medical standard of care would have been in your situation and whether or not the accused medical professional deviated from or did not meet that standard.

The opinion given by the medical review panel is admissible in court if you choose to pursue a lawsuit.

Expert Witnesses

If you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, one of the first things you will want for your case is an expert witness.

Beyond setting the medical standard of care, your expert witness will provide evidence that the professional being sued caused the injury (or injuries) you claim they did.

Expert witnesses may be hard to find and can cost a lot of money, so it’s helpful to have an experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorney on your case to keep up with this critical piece of the puzzle.

Specialist Care

Highly specialized fields of medicine hold professionals to a higher standard of care than general practitioners. Medical malpractice in these fields may be easier to prove because of these higher standards. That said, every case is different — only a qualified attorney can offer legal counsel about your specific circumstances.

If you’ve been hurt because of human error in medical treatment in any of the following fields, it may be easier to prove malpractice. Examples of specialized fields include:

  • Radiology (medical care involving radiation — MRI, X-ray, ultrasound, etc.)
  • Cardiology (medical care for the heart)
  • Anesthesiology (anesthetic medicine often used for surgery)
  • Ophthalmology (eye and vision medical treatment)
  • Pediatrics (medical care given to children)

Cases involving errors in these fields may be easier to prove malpractice, but choosing a qualified expert witness could be more expensive due to the more specialized field.

Help from an Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice cases involve many moving parts, expensive proceedings, and highly technical documents. If you’ve been harmed because of a doctor’s error, you deserve someone who will advocate for your interests and who can protect you from unjust settlements.

The experienced attorneys at Hensley Legal Group are here to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation; your health is worth our time.