How Must Medical Treatment Meet a Standard of Care?

When you receive care from a medical professional, you expect to receive the best possible care from whichever providers you visit. The medical standard of care is the guiding force for medical treatment throughout this country and applies to virtually all medical settings. Here, we want to define the standard of care, examine some ways that this standard of care can be breached, and discuss your options if you have received subpar medical treatment. Speak to a medical malpractice lawyer in Portland for additional assistance with your case.

Standard of Care in Medicine Explained

The “medical standard of care” is a legal term which refers to the degree of care and skill that the average, prudent healthcare professional in a similar field would provide under comparable circumstances. This standard evolves over time as medical practices and technologies advance. The standard of care encompasses various aspects, including but not limited to:

  • Diagnosing conditions based on the patient’s symptoms and medical history.
  • Providing appropriate treatment for diagnosed conditions.
  • Offering timely referrals to specialists when necessary.
  • Ensuring follow-up to assess the effectiveness of treatment.

It’s critical to understand that the standard of care is determined by the consensus within the medical community about how particular conditions should be treated based on current knowledge, resources, and technology available. Determining whether or not a medical professional breaches the standard of care involves many evaluations, including reviews of medical records by physicians and even expert testimony, often secured by both the plaintiff and the defendant in a medical malpractice claim.

Ways the Standard of Care Could Be Breached by a Medical Professional

A breach in the standard of care occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the established norms of medical practice, leading to potential harm to the patient. Several scenarios can constitute a breach, including:

  • Failure to diagnose. Missing or ignoring key symptoms that lead to an incorrect or delayed diagnosis.
  • Improper treatment. Administering treatment that is not aligned with the accepted medical practices for a condition.
  • Medication errors. Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage.
  • Poor communication. Failing to communicate vital information about the diagnosis, treatment options, and potential risks.

These breaches can have serious implications for patient health, potentially leading to worsening conditions, unnecessary suffering, and even death.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If you believe a medical professional has not upheld the standard of care with your treatment, you may need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. In the event you sustain an injury or illness caused by the actions of a medical professional, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in an effort to recover compensation. Successful medical malpractice claims can help individuals recover the compensation they need for medical bills, lost income replacement, as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering damages.

Unfortunately, determining whether the standard of care was violated by your doctor or other medical professional presents challenges. This takes time and resources. By working with a medical malpractice lawyer, you will have an advocate ready to handle the upfront and ongoing costs related to your case.