Establishing the Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases are very complex and require a tremendous amount of research prior to going to trial. As plaintiffs (the party filing the lawsuit) we are responsible for determining the standard of care in a medical situation as well as proving there was a deviation from the standard of care. Not all medical situations have the same standard of care, however.
For example, if a patient visits a neurologist complaining of new onset, severe headaches, the physician would likely order diagnostic tests such as CT scans and/or an MRI, as well as perform a physical examination. If the neurologist did not order appropriate tests, and the patient was later diagnosed with a malignant tumor, and earlier diagnosis could have positively affected the patient’s long term prognosis, medical malpractice may have occurred. The standard of care would be determined by a neurologist.
If this same patient presented to the emergency room, the standard of care may be slightly different in an emergency setting. The doctor may have ordered some tests (not the same tests as a neurologist), prescribed some medication to alleviate discomfort, and sent the patient home with instructions for follow up. The standard of care in this instance would be determined by an Emergency Room physician.
Different medical situations have different standards of care. When the attorneys at McEnery Price Messey & Sullivan begin investigating a medical malpractice case like this, establishing the standard of care is one of the first things we do.
If you or your loved one are questioning the care received, call our office immediately or find out if you have a medical malpractice case.
Tags: medical malpractice