Comparing Judgment Errors To Negligence In A Florida Medical Malpractice Case
Many individuals have a basic understanding of how a typical Florida medical malpractice claim arises. A patient is under the care of a physician, who makes a mistake with treatment or assessment of a medical condition. The victim suffers considerable losses, for which he or she should be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases are rarely as straightforward as you might expect. Health care professionals are still human, so it would be impractical and unfair to hold them to a standard of perfection that does not exist.
As a result, state medical malpractice laws establish negligence as the standard of care that applies in such a case. The problem is drawing the distinction between making a judgment error and true negligence, a notion that creates confusion if you do not have a legal background. Your Miami medical malpractice lawyer can advise you on the specifics, but some general information might help.
Understanding the Standard of Care
Florida law defines medical negligence as any action by a medical professional that breaches the prevailing professional standard of care. To determine the exact nature of the standard of care in a particular case, it is necessary to assess the level of care, skill, and treatment which is recognized as appropriate by other doctors. The analysis is what a hypothetical doctor, with the same training and education would consider acceptable under the same circumstances. As such:
- Medical negligence is based upon deviation from the standard of care. An adverse medical outcome alone will not support a claim.
- The evaluation of negligence will typically require comparison of professionals in the same specialty area as the physician alleged to have caused harm.
- If an act or omission is considered medical negligence, it must be the direct cause of the harm to the patient.
Comparing Judgment Errors to Negligence
Within each specialty area in medicine, practitioners follow an established set of guidelines and rules in administering care. The point is consistency and providing uniform treatment based upon the latest research and best practices. However, health care providers are often faced with situations where the established rules do not apply, and a judgment call is necessary.
To assess whether a physician acted appropriately under the circumstances, a medical expert will often be required. The questions that arise include:
- Would application of established guidelines have been sufficient instead of resorting to a judgment call?
- Did the treating physician employ the same level of care and skill as another doctor would – even if the decision was a mistake?
- Is the patient’s adverse outcome a direct result of the physician’s deviation from acceptable medical standards or some other factor?
A Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Explain Details
A comparison of negligence versus judgment errors is useful, but you can count on our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. to handle the specific legal tasks in a medical malpractice case. For more information on your rights and remedies, please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL to set up a free consultation. We better assess your options after reviewing the details of your case.