You trust medical professionals to provide the proper diagnostic testing, treatment, and follow-up care when you suffer an accidental injury or exhibit symptoms of an illness or chronic health condition. When they fail to do so, it can have major and potentially life threatening impacts on your health and well-being. It could also entitle you to compensation in a medical malpractice claim. As experienced NC and VA medical malpractice attorneys, we have a proven track record of success in representing clients in these types of cases. In order to get you the compensation you are entitled to, we need to obtain medical testimony from a provider in a similar field to show that medical standards of care were violated.
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Standards Of Care For Medical Providers
Most people are familiar with the Hippocratic Oath. This acknowledges the ethical duty doctors have in treating patients and their obligation to uphold certain standards. The American Medical Association (AAA) has revised and updated this oath over the years. The goal is to ensure that all patients are provided with a reasonable quality and continuity of care.
Doctors are not perfect. They cannot guarantee their diagnosis is correct or that a particular course of treatment will be successful. However, standards of care among medical providers help to prevent obvious mistakes and errors. Situations in which these standards apply include:
- Making sure patient files are complete and updated frequently;
- Spending time with the patient and adequately assessing all symptoms they exhibit;
- Recommending the appropriate diagnostic testing;
- Following a logical course of treatment;
- Ensuring medical devices and tools are used safely;
- Taking the appropriate precautions to avoid complications;
- Keeping the patient informed of their progress;
- Communicating between medical providers as appropriate;
- Providing routine follow-up care.
Individual medical providers may approach problems differently. It is common for them to have their own opinions regarding the type and level of care a particular patient needs. At the same time, they are required to make sure in all cases that the appropriate medical standards are followed.
Proving Standards of Care Were Violated
Medical mistakes and errors are common to the point that they are now listed as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Studies by Johns Hopkins Medicine indicate that these prove fatal for more than 250,000 people each year. Negligence on the part of medical providers is responsible.
Negligence is a legal term that involves the duty of care one party owes to another. When this duty is breached and damages occur, the victim may be entitled to compensation in a claim. In medical malpractice cases, this involves showing how the doctor violated medical standards of care. To do this, medical malpractice laws in Virginia require testimony from a provider in a similar field that a violation of the standard occurred. At Shapiro & Appleton, the process for obtaining this testimony involves:
- Careful review of all the appropriate records in your case to determine what medical standards of care were violated and who can be held accountable.
- Once we have conducted our own review, we will locate a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider in the same field as the provider responsible for violating standards.
- As their testimony is crucial to proving that a violation occurred, our goal is to find someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about your condition, as well as the testing, treatments, and follow-up care typically associated with it.
The only exception to the requirement that a provider in a similar field testify regarding violations of medical standards of care is in cases where negligence is obvious. In an article for the Legal Examiner, we discussed how errors involving sponges, towels, or even tools left behind in patients after surgery is an increasingly common issue in medical malpractice claims. In this type of situation, negligence is so obvious that it does not require testimony from another medical provider to show that medical standards of care were not followed.
Request A Consultation With Our VA and NC Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you or a loved one is the victim of a medical mistake or error, you may be able to hold your medical providers accountable. At Shapiro & Appleton, we provide trusted legal guidance and professional representation to clients in these types of cases throughout the VA and NC area. To discuss your case and the compensation you may be entitled to in a claim, contact our medical malpractice attorneys and request a free consultation today.