Generally, an expert witness will be involved in litigation and in some cases, will be called into court, when a medical malpractice case arises. A medical witness will give testimony based on their knowledge of the medical field and the specific details of the case. There are several steps involved in order to decide the medical malpractice case. With the assistance of an expert witness, an attorney will be able to relay detailed medical information to the jury and the judge in a way that is understandable. The medical expert may be retained by the plaintiff or defendant attorney. The jury will then use that information when determining the outcome of the trial. If your law office needs the help of an expert witness, contact APEXpert Witness for the most trustworthy and reliable medical expert witnesses.
Typically, there are four principles the plaintiff attorney has to address in a medical malpractice case.
- Prove that there was a physician*-patient relationship
- Prove that the physician was negligent is his or her treatment, e.g. there was a breach of standard of care
- Prove that the patient was harmed by the negligence that occurred
- Prove that the harm resulted in financial or other, significant burden to the patient(*or other medical provider)
Proving the Standard of Care
Standard of care is a concept which medical practitioners use to describe the highest quality of care possible, based on published guidelines of their respective specialties. A patient expects this level of care by any physician of similar training and who is experienced in the same field. A medical expert will provide information that shows what the standard of care is for that specific case and specialty. For example, if a patient died of a heart attack after he or she was treated by a physician, did that patient receive the same care from that physician as he would have from any other physician. Did the patient’s physician address all pre-existing conditions ? Were there alternative procedures that the physician could have chosen ? Would a different physician of similar training act and give care in the same way?
Proving the Standard of Care Was Not Reached
When the standard of care is understood in a specific case, the medical expert must present their opinion on the physician’s actions and whether the standard of care procedures was followed. If a failure to follow procedures took place, this could range from a variety of actions:
- Failure to diagnose a condition
- Errors during surgery
- Medication errors
- Complications and errors occurred during pregnancy and childbirth
As either plaintiff or defendant expert, an APEXpert Witness will use the hospital’s and the physicians’s medical records and notes about the patient to determine whether the physician was negligent or not, and if he or she did follow the guidelines of standard of care.
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