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Most doctors today know the ins and outs of what their jobs require.  However, no matter how well a doctor practices, there is always a chance of medical malpractice. (Or is it technically medical negligence?)  When a doctor stands accused of medical malpractice, they might be familiar with every bone in the body, but the legal language of medical malpractice might elude them.  If you are a doctor, this series of definition articles can help you understand some important medical/legal (medicolegal) terminology to help you understand your case.  If you are a court reporter, these are important terms because when specializing in medical malpractice lawsuits, a court reporter must know each and every term.

TERM: STANDARD OF CARE

The standard of care is the legal gauge used to find out if a doctor or other medical professional was negligent when caring for a patient. Cornell University defines the standard of care as the degree of watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person should exercise under the circumstances.  If a person does not meet this standard, they are subject to tort law.  So as a doctor, he or she has the obligation and legal duty to act reasonably and provide quality services to their patients.

For example, if a woman comes into the hospital with a broken leg, the doctor would reasonably treat the leg. This would commonly mean that the doctor would take X-rays to see the internal damage, assess accordingly, reset the bones, and apply a cast to the leg.  A substandard of care (or not practicing up to the standard of care) would be to not take X-rays, not assess the damage or options, but simply to amputate the leg.  This was not a reasonable treatment according to the wound for this case.  The doctor did not take reasonable measures to ensure a good patient outcome.  This case might seem extreme, but there are many various levels to which doctors must maintain the standard of care required of them. When a doctor does not live up to this standard in his or her practice, there could be cause for medical malpractice lawsuits.  Only an attorney can best advise someone of the appropriate actions of a medical malpractice case.

If a lawsuit does go forward, Cady Reporting provides court reporters, videographers, and other specialized litigation support services to ensure that the attorney has access to the best litigation support possible to win their case.  Cady personally covers the state of Ohio and networks with their personally connected, peer-reviewed partners in the exclusive global network, the NNRC.

If you are a court reporter and looking for a good steno brief for “Standard of Care” our own Chuck Cady* recommends the court reporting steno brief STAIRK 🙂

*Chuck Cady, President of Cady Reporting Services, has won the NCRA Ohio Speed Cup Contest for court reporting so many times, that he has retired the cup.  He has been a court reporter for over 35 years and runs Cady Reporting Services with his family.