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Medical Duty Of Care

A duty of care is owed by all professionals in practice to those who rely on their services. Lawyers and accountants, for example, have a legal obligation to fulfill their clients’ needs.

Doctors and other medical professionals are not exempt. When offering guidance or treatment, they have a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill. Negligence may be asserted where a failure to give proper care to a patient results in harm.

If you win your case, you will be eligible for damages, which are financial compensation. The goal of the legal system when doling out compensation is not to punish doctors but rather to compensate individuals for injuries they have suffered and the revenue lost as a result of those injuries.

We consult medical experts and gather all available evidence to demonstrate the gravity of your injuries at Texas Personal Injury Lawyers. If you are entitled to non-economic damages as a result of a severe accident, we will guide you through the evaluation of your level of impairment process, referral of questions to a medical panel, and more. Call us on (888) 997-2148 for a free, no-obligation consultation now.

The Medical Standard Of Care

Doctors must achieve a certain level of competence, knowledge, and care that may be summarized as “do no harm.” These standards are determined in court by measuring the amount of skill, care, and diligence required of a reasonably competent doctor performing the same or similar activities.

The following are examples of some of those circumstances:

  • The area of medicine in which the doctor practices
  • The customary or accepted practices of other doctors in the area
  • The level of equipment and facilities available at the time and in the local area

Doctors, as individuals charged with managing life-or-death choices for others, are subjected to even higher standards. Each doctor must adhere to these criteria when entering the field and team of his or her specialty. This implies that a medical professional is not expected to properly diagnose and treat significant health problems outside of their area of expertise.

Expert testimonies from other medical professionals that share similar skill, training, certification, and experience as the allegedly negligent doctor may establish the level of skill and competence under the circumstances in court. If a doctor fails to meet the expectations of someone in his or her field, he or she may be held responsible for any negative consequences that result from not following guidelines.

A Doctor’s Duty To Warn And Advise


To fulfill their responsibilities, doctors must communicate and give needed information to their patients. This information must include:

  • Disclosing a diagnosis and giving health warnings to patients in a timely manner.
  • Informed Consent: Giving the patient information about the potential hazards of treatments or the course of treatment.
  • Notifying patients about any hazards or unwanted effects associated with medicine given to them
  • Disclosing information about possible treatment side effects that might endanger third parties (for example, telling a patient that his or her medication makes them drowsy and advising them of the potential risk of injuring others while driving or operating heavy equipment)

What Is A Breach Of Duty Of Care?


A doctor’s breach of duty of care is also referred to as “negligence.” A doctor who negligently—i.e., carelessly, or irresponsibly—breached his or her duties of care to a patient and caused damage might be held liable.

Accidental or deliberate, legal claims resulting from medical negligence and breach of duty come in many forms. The following are examples of various types of medical negligence and breach of duty-related legal cases:

  • Prescribing a patient incorrect medication
  • Failing to review a patient’s current medications
  • Writing a prescription for the incorrect dose of medication
  • Administering incorrect drugs
  • Failing to analyze or diagnose a health condition accurately
  • Failing to diagnose a health condition entirely
  • Ignoring or misreading laboratory results
  • Failure to order adequate tests
  • Prematurely discharging a patient from care
  • Failing to warn a patient of known risks of a surgery, procedure or treatment
  • Although the risk of surgical mishaps is always present, there are times when a serious blunder such as performing surgery on the wrong part of the patient’s body or leaving foreign objects/surgical tools inside the body can be avoided.

A bad medical result does not imply that the doctor or medical practitioner was negligent in fulfilling their duty of care and committing malpractice. For patients, the physician or medical provider must have acted in a negligent manner that resulted in harm.

Our medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in determining whether or not actions taken by medical professionals fell below the standard of care owed to you.

Did A Healthcare Provider Owe You A Duty Of Care?


To start a medical negligence claim, you must first establish whether your doctor and/or another healthcare provider had a duty of care to you. This is generally proved by demonstrating that you were a client of the firm in question. The following are examples of documentation that might assist with establishing the duty owed to you:

  • Intake or admission forms
  • Letters from the doctor and/or the office staff
  • Bills
  • Insurance statements

Individual practitioners and their employers (such as hospitals, surgical centers, etc.) may be held accountable for medical negligence. You should preserve all relevant documents documenting the date, time, and type of your treatment if you or a loved one was injured as a result of substandard care in a hospital or other facility. The hospital may be held liable for the negligence of its staff and/or management.

What Is The Duty Of Care In Relation To Medical Negligence?


When a professional has a duty to a client, he or she must maintain the appropriate level of care expected of that job. This obligation also applies to those in the medical field.

Examples Of A Failure To Show Duty Of Care
  • Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of critical diseases
  • Failure to order necessary tests based on a patient’s symptoms
  • Failure of a doctor to follow up and check test results
  • Not referring a patient to a specialist when necessary
  • Surgical and anesthesia errors
  • Obstetric and delivery room errors resulting in birth injuries and maternal trauma
  • Negligent post-operative monitoring and care
  • Prescribing and dispensing the wrong medication
  • Emergency room errors
  • Performing an operation on the wrong spinal level or the wrong body part
  • Failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent
  • Misuse of medical equipment and technology

The duty of care is violated when a medical practitioner fails in their obligation to exercise reasonable care. Whether or not these and other medical mistakes qualify as a failure to meet this duty will be determined on the basis of the unique circumstances that caused your injuries.

The standard of care is an essential component of your medical negligence claim. You must demonstrate that the doctor deviated from the usual approach for his or her field in the same circumstances, as required by law.

For example, if a patient visits the emergency department complaining of chest pains and the attending doctor does not order an electrocardiogram, this would be considered a failure to treat the patient in accordance with the reasonable standard of care required in Texas. If the patient subsequently suffers a heart attack, he or his family could have a successful medical malpractice action against the doctor who did not order appropriate tests.

An obstetric example is that a careful and skilled obstetrician must be aware of the necessity of monitoring a woman’s blood pressure and other vital signs throughout delivery. If the doctor fails to recognize a bleeding condition and the mother has a postpartum hemorrhage, he or she would be found to have failed to meet the required standard of care.

A competent medical professional is required to establish a case for medical malpractice and demonstrate that the standard of care was breached. Consult with specialists in the same field as the defendant in your claim to show that the practitioner’s mistakes meet legal criteria for negligence, causing direct injuries and losses.

Contact Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Today

Texas Personal Injury Lawyers has many years of expertise assisting Texans in recovering compensation for medical malpractice damages. Don’t wait any longer if you or a loved one feels that you have been the victim of medical negligence. 

Call us at (888) 997-2148 now for you free consultation.

We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely FREE. Contact us to learn what Texas Personal Injury Lawyers can accomplish for you.