Standards of care are the foundation for your analysis in every medical malpractice case. The three primary categories of standards are all vital to developing a comprehensive medical malpractice case. Use the following list to ensure you research and incorporate all relevant standards of care into your next medical malpractice opinion.
- Practice acts – You will want to get a copy of the relevant practice act of the state in which the incident occurred and for each discipline involved. The practice act creates the framework of practice for the healthcare professional.
- Accreditation organizations – The Joint Commission and DNV accredit hospitals, laboratories and a variety of outpatient and diagnostic facilities. NCQA accredits managed care organizations.
- Professional associations – Professional association standards are persuasive in court and often provide specific information relevant to the case issues. Obtain standards from every relevant nursing, medical and ancillary care association applicable to the case.
- Scientific literature – Textbooks, journal articles or research done in a specific area can be sources for standards of care. These sources often provide the most specific and in-depth information relevant to standards. Obtain a representative sample of the authoritative literature.
- Healthcare facility sources – This includes the facility’s policy and procedures, standards and guidelines. Assess these facility sources carefully for accuracy and consistency with the standard of care.
A mistake I see beginning legal nurse consultants make is failing to use all relevant sources for standards of care. Refer to this list on your future medical malpractice cases and you’ll never make this mistake again.
I’m Just Sayin’
P.S. Comment and share your experiences researching the standards of care.