Practicing medicine is unfortunately not an exact science, and things sometimes go wrong even when working with dedicated, experienced physicians. However, sometimes avoidable mistakes occur that may lead patients or their families to seek compensation. When proving malpractice, a medical expert witness must explain how a standard of care was breached. Here are some necessary points when showing a breach of care.
What Must Experts Show?
Medical malpractice experts help plaintiffs show that harm was caused because the care exhibited in given circumstances falls short of the general standards of medical care. Physicians, nurses, administrators and others in a health setting could be responsible when doing or not doing something that causes a patient to receive a lesser standard of care than normal.
Importance Of Medical Malpractice Experts
In medical malpractice cases, the standard of care is the behavior that similar medical health professionals would provide in a comparable situation. This makes an expert’s testimony valuable as he or she should be someone in the same field as the defendant. An attorney uses a medical expert’s testimony to show that a health care provider with similar experience would have acted differently in a similar case. The medical expert would explain why he or she and others in the same field would not make the same decisions that the defendant made.
Points To Cover
An expert would be used to establish the standard of care, show how the care given breached the standard and explain how the treatment given harmed the patient. One type of malpractice might involve giving a patient the wrong medication. In this example, the patient could be allergic to the medication or have a bad reaction because of his or her condition and the other drugs being taken. Here are some points a medical expert witness might make in a hypothetical situation like this.
Establishing a standard of care: The witness could explain what normally occurs when giving medications like checking a patient’s history for known allergies, double checking that the medication is the correct one and making sure that the dosage is right.
Breaching the standard: If it is documented that a patient cannot receive a certain medication, an expert could point to this as a breach in care if the medication is administered anyway. If a staff member had looked at patient’s history or chart, it could have prevented an error.
How harm occurred: The expert would list injuries, illnesses or side effects resulting from being given the wrong medication. This could include pain, a worsened condition or a severe reaction to the wrong medication.
Proving breach of care is why medical malpractice experts are needed, and selecting a capable witness could help a plaintiff recover damages.