4 things to know about standard of care

One of the questions that comes up in medical malpractice lawsuits is whether the standard of care was met during the patient's treatment. While this might seem like something easy to prove, this isn't always the case because there typically isn't any universal standard of care. There are several things that you should know about standard of care if you are planning to file a claim for compensation based on medical care failing to meet the standard.

Basis of standard of care

Standard of care is a concept that requires knowledge of the medical field. The standard of care isn't what patients would expect a doctor to know. Instead, the standard of care that must be provided to patients must meet the expectations of the doctor's peers and colleagues in the medical community. It is set based on what other doctors would do in the same situation.

Patients suffer when standard of care isn't met

Patients who don't receive treatment that meets the standard of care can suffer harm. For example, if a patient receives too much or too little of a medication while receiving a treatment, the patient might not reach the optimal level of healing. If a patient with cancer receives too little chemotherapy, he or she might not go into remission. If this patient receives too much chemotherapy, more serious risks or even death might occur.

Standard of care can vary from one doctor to another

Standard of care isn't the same for every doctor. Considering the cancer example again, the standard of care wouldn't be the same for a general practitioner as it would be for an oncologist. The oncologist would be held to a higher standard of care because the oncologist has had specialized training for treating cancer.

Another factor that can impact standard of care is what access the doctor has. A doctor in a facility with innovative equipment would be expected to provide better care than a doctor who doesn't have access to that equipment.

Proving standard of care deficiencies can be difficult

Standard of care can be hard to prove because doctors often don't want to testify against other doctors. The medical community is a close-knit community, so many doctors are very cautious about saying anything even when they see errors. This can make it difficult for patients to prove that the standard of care wasn't met. However, this doesn't mean that it is impossible for the patient to prove that medical malpractice did occur.

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