Medical Malpractice: What Does the 'Standard of Care' Mean?

In spite of the many years of study and training it takes to become a doctor, medical errors happen all the time. In fact, they’re the third leading cause of death in the U.S., which means they’re incredibly common.

Even so, doctors don’t always suffer consequences for making a medical error, and one of the reasons for that is the medical standard of care.

What Is the Medical Standard of Care?

The medical standard of care applies to all doctors and other licensed professionals working in the healthcare industry. It refers to the level of skill, knowledge, and care that any reasonably careful practitioner would have in diagnosing or treating a patient. This standard – or rather, allegations of a breach of this standard – form the crux of most medical malpractice lawsuits.

Importantly, nowhere does it say that a doctor can’t make a mistake. Doctors aren’t always liable for making mistakes when they were doing what any other doctor would do in a similar situation. Rather, mistakes that result from negligence are what generate liability for medical malpractice.

What Should I Do If I Suspect My Doctor Made a Mistake?

If you suspect your doctor made a medical error that resulted in your illness or injury, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney.

Don’t attempt to judge for yourself if a doctor demonstrated negligence or breached the medical standard of care – your attorney can help you with these questions by investigating your malpractice claim.

We at the Law Office of David Kates can help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us online.