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Did my physician breach the standard of care owed to me?

No matter what type of medical treatment you undergo, your physician is required by law to adhere to a specific standard of care when treating you. If you plan to file a medical malpractice claim, a big part of your case will be determining whether your doctor adhered to the appropriate standard of care during the course of your treatment.

As a patient in Maryland, it can be difficult to know what a physician is expected to do when treating you. Generally, it will depend on the expectations of the medical community. If a doctor fails to act as a competent physician in the same field would act in similar circumstances, the doctor may have failed to provide treatment in accordance with the proper standard of care. As a result, their behavior may be considered medical negligence and they could be liable for medical malpractice if their negligence caused the patient harm.

All physicians are required to have a basic level of competency before treating patients. If physicians negligently perform a procedure that is considered part of general practice, they cannot use the fact that they were not a specialist as a defense. However, they also would not be expected to do everything a specialist would do.

Many medical malpractice cases rest on expert testimony. Other doctors in the same field of medicine as your physician will have to testify that your doctor provided sub-standard care and that a competent physician would have acted differently. However, it can be difficult to get doctors to testify against each other in an unbiased way. You may consider discussing your case with a medical malpractice attorney for assistance in finding an expert to testify on your behalf.

Source: FindLaw, "Standard of Care: Treatment and Surgery," accessed on April 8, 2018

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