You know that every medical procedure carries some degree of risk. Your doctor should inform you of any risks before you consent to a medical procedure. But where does your assumption of the risk stop and cases of medical malpractice begin? The answer often turns on whether the doctor or other medical professionals followed the accepted standard of care.

The standard of care rule expects medical professionals to exercise a level of care that a reasonable person in a similar position would exercise. If that seems like a vague definition, it is. Accepted standards of care can vary wildly depending on the area of practice and type of medical procedure that is performed.

The focus is often on methods, not results

No reasonable medical professional will guarantee the results of procedure. You may have had a procedure that was not a success. Although you may be disappointed with the results, that does not mean that your physician violated the standard of care.

When examining these issues, the law will often focus on the methods of medical professionals rather than the end result. For example, failing to treat an infection which results in harm to the patient is likely to violate the standard of care. Treating an infection without success is probably not violating the standard of care.

The standard differs from region to region

As mentioned above, the standard of care is different depending on the medical practice area. The standard also changes from region to region.

Doctors in one part of the country may take a different approach to a procedure than doctors in another part of the country. Whether a physician violated the standard of care and committed malpractice will depend on where you had your procedure performed.

Accepted risk or medical negligence?

You anticipate that some things may not go as planned when you undergo surgery or seek medical treatment. You also know there are no guarantees. However, this does not excuse medical professionals from instances of malpractice.

You should seek professional advice to learn about your options for filing a medical negligence claim. You may have options to help you hold doctors accountable for medical malpractice.