When doing research or trying to understand more about whether they have a medical malpractice case or not, people uncover the phrase “standard of care.” If you are not well versed in the law or medicine, standard of care may be an unfamiliar term and you may have a question as to what is standard of care?
Standard of care means the degree of care a reasonable and prudent doctor under similar circumstances will use. In its most basic sense, it means that the doctors in your situation perform the same procedure in the same way, a reasonable way. Now that you have an idea of what is standard of care, we can discuss how it will impact your potential birth injury and medical malpractice case.
WHAT IS STANDARD OF CARE IN A BIRTH INJURY CASE?
We often get calls and emails from people who were injured while under a doctor’s care or during a hospital stay. The statements of these people are quite similar: the result was not what was anticipated or there were complications that resulted.
Although complications and bad results should not be ignored, legally they may not be the issue. The legal question is, did the doctor deviate from the standard. For example, with labor and delivery patients when the baby shows certain signs of distress doctors should move swiftly to convert the delivery from vaginal to an emergency Cesarean (c-section) when warranted.
The argument can be made that a doctor who allows a mother to continue to labor down while her heart rate and/ or her baby’s heart rate skyrockets or plummets, the fetal monitor reveals that the baby is in fetal distress (non-reassuring strip) for a considerable amount of time, deviates from the standard of care if the baby suffers a brain injury and no emergency C-section is performed.
In contrast if reasonable prudent doctors, facing the same scenario with a laboring mother would move towards an emergency c-section within minutes of a non-reassuring reading continuing for a considerable amount of time on the fetal heart monitor, despite unsuccessful treatments, a strong argument can be made that this is the standard of care and should be followed by reasonable and prudent doctors. (For more information on the fetal heart monitor and the need for it, be sure to review other videos on our site or YouTube channel).
HOW CAN I KNOW IF MY DOCTOR DEVIATED FROM THE STANDARD?
Did your OB deviate from the standard in your birth injury case? Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of this important issue of what is standard of care in birth injury cases.
If you have more questions, this is what I invite you to do. Pick up the phone and give me a call. I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I answer questions regarding labor and delivery, blood and oxygen loss, cerebral palsy diagnoses, and much more surrounding birth injuries all the time and I would be happy to listen to your story.
J. Renee Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP