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What is the “Standard of Care” for Doctors?

Written by Berkowitz

code of ethics When you have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice or negligence, you may hear your attorney refer to the “standard of care.” This refers to the care that a physician is required to provide to his or her patients, and is part of a physician’s medical ethics. The medical profession has a body of ethical statements that were developed to benefit the patient – and ensure that patients receive the care that they deserve – regardless of social status, financial abilities, or even demographics. Any physician who is practicing in the United States has a responsibility to his or her patients first and foremost. When you hear the “standard of care,” this refers to the body of ethics that all physicians are required to abide by.

What are the Basic Principles of a Physician’s Code of Ethics?

Physicians have strict medical ethics that they must abide by, which include:

  1. A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care to patients with compassion and respect for rights and dignity.
  2. Physicians shall uphold the standards of professionalism. They must be honest, strive to report deficient competence in other physicians, and report any signs of fraud to the appropriate authorities.
  3. Physicians must respect the law and recognize their responsibility to seek changes that benefit their patients’ best interests.
  4. A physician will always respect the rights of the patient, as well as his or her colleagues and other healthcare professionals. They shall safeguard their patients’ confidentiality and privacy – as long as it is in accordance with the law.
  5. Physicians will study, apply, and advance their knowledge continuously – and long after they graduate. They will maintain a commitment to constantly improving their own medical education – including staying up to date on the latest technology and treatment options available so that they can better their standard of care for their patients.
  6. A physician will be free to choose whom to serve and associate with, and which environment is best to provide the patients with care.
  7. Physicians must recognize their responsibility to participate in activities that improve the community and overall improve public health.
  8. Physicians, when caring for their patients, will consider their patient as their number one priority.
  9. Physicians shall provide medical care to all patients – regardless of demographics or financial abilities.

These medical code of ethics are the cornerstone of a physician’s standard of care. When a physician breaches even one of these codes of ethics, he or she could be considered to be providing substandard care or breaching the standard of care required as part of the profession. For example, if physicians fail to educate themselves on new techniques and use outdated technology on a patient, and that patient suffers injury, then these physicians have breached their medical ethics. Because, under their ethical code, physicians must provide the latest and best options to their patients.

How The Standard of Care Applies in a Medical Malpractice Claim

When a physician deviates from any of the required medical ethics, it becomes an issue of standard care. The courts will assess the medical ethics that the physician has violated and then also compare the actions of the physician to other physicians in similar specialties – and if those physicians would have acted differently, the courts will then decide if the physician has breached his or her standard of care. If the breach has been established, the physician is then liable for all negligent acts and damages associated with those acts.

Speak with a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you have been injured because your physician breached the code of ethics, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. You will need to speak with a Connecticut personal injury attorney right away to explore your options. To get started, contact The Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online.