Patients seeking treatment for a medical condition or going into the operating room for surgery are supposed to be provided with a standard of care. This standard of care is defined as the expertise, level of skill and care practiced and possessed by doctors in a similar community under similar circumstances.
The standard of care and how it is handled is important to a medical malpractice case. If the standard of care was not met, investigators will look at whether or not the doctor acted in a manner expected by a person in his or her field. If the standard of care was not met, the doctor could be held liable for any issues that arose from the treatment or surgery that was provided by the doctor.
It is expected that all licensed physicians possess a basic level of skill and expertise when it comes to diagnosing and treating recurring or general injuries and illnesses. For example, a general practitioner who administered sub-standard CPR to a patient in cardiac arrest, who then dies because of the sub-standard care, cannot claim that he or she was not an specialist in CPR.
There is a term used by lawyers called "The Conspiracy of Silence." This term refers to the idea that licensed physicians will typically not testify against others in their profession. Because of this, it could be very difficult to find a physician to testify as an expert witness against a colleague in a case involving standard of care. This can happen even when the case if taking place on one side of the country and the potential expert witness practices on the other side of the country. The two doctors could very well know each other from medical school, previous employment together, fellowship programs or the national board certifications.
It can be difficult to understand the standard of care you are due. An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Tucson, Arizona can answer all of your questions regarding surgical errors and advise you of your rights.
Source: FindLaw, "Standard of Care: Treatment and Surgery," accessed March 24, 2017