Medical professionals are not expected to be infallible and there may be poor results from treatment that do not amount to malpractice. Medical professionals are expected to exercise the basic knowledge, skills, and care ordinarily possessed and exercised by other members of the profession acting under similar conditions and circumstances. This basic knowledge and skill is called a standard of practice, or standard of care. When a medical professional treats a patient and fails to use this basic knowledge, skill, and care whether the failure consists of doing something incorrectly, or failing to do something that should be done, that failure is a deviation from the standard of practice or care.
The injured party has the burden of proving that the alleged actions of the health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider. That means the health care provider failed to act as a reasonably prudent health care provider in Georgia would under similar circumstances. The injured patient must then prove that the health care provider`s breach of the standard of care was a proximate cause of the injuries to the patient. In other words, there must be a close connection between the action of the doctor and the harm to the patient. Likewise, a hospital owes their patients a duty of ordinary care to provide equipment and facilities reasonably suited to the intended uses and such as are in general use in similar hospitals under similar circumstances. Expert testimony is generally necessary to prove a deviation of the standard of care under the facts and circumstances applicable to the patient`s condition.
It is important to note that medical malpractice claims are very difficult to prevail in and are also extremely expensive partly due to the need for qualified expert review and testimony. In fact, a medical malpractice complaint must generally contain an affidavit of an expert stating that the facts justify a claim of negligence. The complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to file the affidavit in a timely manner. Whether or not you have a good case depends on the professional judgment of attorneys and medical experts. If you are told that you do not have a case with merit, you should seek another opinion from one or more other attorneys.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical malpractice attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.