What Does it Mean to “Fall Below the Standard of Care” in a Medical Malpractice Case?

One of the elements that you must prove in a medical malpractice case is that the defendant medical provider supplied treatment that fell below a reasonable standard of care. Falling below the standard of care usually means that a health care professional failed to deliver an acceptable standard of care that other providers would have given under similar circumstances. Since “standard of care issues” are so crucial to Washington medical malpractice cases, we felt it necessary to provide the following insights.

What Does “Standard of Care” Mean?

The term “standard of care” simply refers to the degree of care that a reasonable and cautious person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. When it comes to medical malpractice cases, the term suggests the level and quality of medical care that a healthcare provider should provide to a patient. Examples of medical standards of care are:

  • Conducting patient medical evaluations consistently and uniformly,
  • Performing a surgery in compliance with best practices and current methodology and science, and
  • Providing treatment while refraining from aggravating or worsening a patient’s condition.

What is Falling Below the Standard of Acceptable Care?

A medical provider is said to fall below the acceptable standard of care when a reasonable provider in the same or similar situation would have either:

  • treated a patient differently, or
  • taken a different course of treatment.

Whether or not a healthcare professional fell below the standard of care is typically determined by analyzing all of the facts of a case. Examples of when a provider falls below the standard of care includes instances of:

  • Performing unnecessary surgery,
  • Failing to diagnose a certain condition or illness,
  • Misdiagnosis,
  • Prescribing incorrect medications or dosages,
  • Administering wrong medications or dosages,
  • Anesthesia errors, and
  • Inadequate post-op care and infections.

How Do You Prove that Medical Care Was Below Standard?

The answer to this question involves two steps. First, a medical malpractice attorney must show what the acceptable standard of care should have been. Lawyers often do this through the testimony of other medical professionals practicing in the same field as the defendant. Second, an attorney must prove that a provider did not follow this acceptable standard, and as a result, the patient was injured. In doing so, attorneys often rely upon:

  • Medical notes and charts,
  • Test results,
  • Prescriptions,
  • X-rays and imaging scans, and
  • A patient’s medical records.

Contact Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC

Please know that our firm is here to help if you were injured due to a medical provider’s errors or mistakes. Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC provides free consultations to all our potential clients. The attorneys at our law firm also have over 120 years of combined experience representing injured parties in medical malpractice cases. They never back down to insurers and fight for their clients’ interests every step of the way. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the quality legal representation you deserve.

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