When a Louisiana resident’s medical condition worsens at the hands of the doctor or medical professional they approached to receive treatment in the first instance, they may be considering filing a medical malpractice suit against the negligent doctor. One of the terms that they may find themselves coming face to face with again and again might be ‘standard of care’. It is important to understand what this means and how this is relevant to a plaintiff’s case.
A doctor owes a standard of care to their patients. This standard of care is the level of skill, care and skill possessed and practiced by physicians who are in a similar or in the same community and in similar circumstances. Applying this standard helps determine if someone acted in a manner consistent with the medical community’s expectations. Therefore, if a medical professional did not act in the manner that was expected from them, they may be found liable for the injuries they have caused by non-adherence.
When applying the standard of care test, it is important to keep in mind the type of knowledge that is expected of medical professionals. For example, a licensed physician should have a basic level of skill and expertise diagnosing and treating general or recurring types of injuries or illnesses. This means that a medical professional specializing in a specific medical field cannot testify that the general practitioner should have taken the same steps the specialist would have. Similarly, someone practicing in a tiny rural area with limited facilities cannot be said to have the same level of expertise someone practicing in a big suburban town with state of the art equipment.
Wrapping one’s head around the legalities involved in a medical malpractice suit might be overwhelming, especially since doctors tend to close ranks around one another when asked to testify about the standard of care owed to a patient. An experienced professional might be able to overcome legal hurdles an ordinary citizen would not be able to.