Malpractice Consult: Elements of Malpractice: Standard of Care

By Johnson, Lee J. | Medical Economics, July 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

Malpractice Consult: Elements of Malpractice: Standard of Care


Johnson, Lee J., Medical Economics


When a patient files a medical malpractice claim, his first order of businessaddressed in the July 4 "Malpractice Consult" column (available at www.memag.com)-is to prove that the physician had a duty to him. Next, the plaintiff must show that the doctor breached that duty by not meeting the standard of care. Doctors haven't met the standard of care if they:

* Did something a "reasonably prudent" physician wouldn't do under similar circumstances.

* Didn't do something a reasonably prudent doctor would have done under similar circumstances.

* Failed to demonstrate the knowledge and ability that is expected of doctors who provide the service in question.

To determine whether a duty has been breached, judges and juries look to accepted practice standards of physicians in the relevant specialty-which, depending on the circumstances, might not be the defendants specialty. For example, an internist who reviews a chest X-ray and makes decisions based on his finding might be measured against the standard for radiologists.

The legal elements of the standard of care include the application of medical knowledge and skill and the exercise of reasonable care and best judgment. An error in judgment is not, in itself, evidence of malpractice. A judge or jury makes that determination after reviewing the evidence.

Good documentation, of course, is key. A physician defendant who has carefully described his reasoning process will have an easier time demonstrating that an error didn't reach the level of malpractice.

Lawyers lay out the evidence

In their efforts to prove that the standard of care was-or was not-met, defense and plaintiffs' lawyers typically consider several kinds of evidence:

* Statutes, such as the federal EMTALA and consent laws, which may differ from state to state.

* Practice parameters. If the doctor departed from accepted guidelines and protocols, the onus is on him to explain why. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Malpractice Consult: Elements of Malpractice: Standard of Care
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.