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A common misunderstanding, which deters many victims of Chicago, Evanston and Rockford medical malpractice from filing a lawsuit, is that the waiver signed upon being admitted into the hospital that waives all rights to sue for malpractice. However, hospitals and medical care providers owe a duty of care to all their patients and may be liable to any injured patient, regardless of any forms signed by the patient.
Similar to negligence law defining negligence as “the doing or the failure to do something that a person of ordinary prudence would or would not do under the same or similar circumstances,” the law of medical malpractice defines negligent medical conduct as “the doing or the failure to do something that a reasonably prudent health care professional in that field would or would not do under the same or similar circumstances.” Where the standard in ordinary negligence cases is compared to that of a fictional “reasonable man”, the standard adopted medical malpractice law is compared to that of a fictional “reasonably prudent health care provider.”
The central issue in any case, common negligence or medical malpractice, is whether the doctor, was “negligent” and failed to follow the proper standard of case in the community in which he or she practices medicine. The “reasonable person standard” has been viewed objectively, meaning the standard is applicable to all human beings. On the other hand, the “reasonable prudent health care provider” carries a more subjective view. Some attorneys note that the “reasonable man” standard is objective, in the sense that it is a standard applicable to all human beings, whereas the “reasonably prudent health care provider” is more subjective, in that the standard to be judged by is restricted to the medical profession’s definition. Therefore, developments in technology constantly change the standard a doctor is held to.
Differing viewpoints suggest that the law holds all medical professionals to certain minimum standards of care. Utilizing this view, all evidence, presented by a defense attorney in a medical malpractice suit, that suggests few doctors exercise a certain standard in a particular field of medicine that requires a higher degree of care, would not prevent a finding that the doctor was negligent. A prima facie case for medical malpractice involves the plaintiff’s attorney establishing, through expert testimony, the standard of care required of professionals in the field that the defendant allegedly breached, breach of that care by the doctor, proof of injury to the plaintiff, and proof that the injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence.
Negative results of medical treatment does not in and of itself create a medical malpractice suit because medical treatment carries no guarantees of successful outcomes every time.