There are three primary factors that judges will often instruct a jury to keep in mind when deciding medical malpractice cases: the defendant’s duty of care, the “reasonable person” standard and the standard of care.
Duty of care
Physicians in the United States aren’t responsible for coming to the aid of any injured or sick person unless there’s a preexisting doctor-patient relationship established between them.
This means that an individual may be suffering a cardiac arrest on an airplane and need medical assistance. A physician who stays in their seat can’t be held liable for what happens to the patient unless they get up to help. Once they come to the aid of an injured or ill passenger, a duty of care is established and a physician can be held liable for what happens to them.
Reasonable person standards
In the case of a physician-patient relationship, the legal system sees the doctor as owing the person that they’re treating a duty of care.
Under this standard, one doctor’s care or treatment of a patient will will be compared to what any other reasonably competent doctor would have done given a similar set of circumstances.
Standard of care
Factors including the availability of facilities or equipment, accepted practices in an area, and physician specialties may all impact how doctors perform their jobs. During trials, specialists from the same field of medicine or region who use similar equipment may be brought in as expert witnesses to establish a reasonable standard of care that a physician should have.
There are some instances in which hospitals or medical groups that employ doctors may also be accused of negligence on the grounds that they failed to meet their duty of care. The concept of “respondeat superior” allows employers to be held liable for their workers’ indiscretions.
Doctors are virtually always responsible for medical students, nurses and interns who take orders from him or her.
Just because a medical event has a poor outcome doesn’t mean that any negligence took place. This is why it’s important that you only entrust the review of your case to a Chicago medical malpractice attorney with decades of experience in taking on physicians who have wronged patients.