A Case Exemplifying the Standard of Care for CVDThere are many pivotal aspects to a medical malpractice case. Beside the fact that there are often strict statutes of limitations to adhere to and multiple deadlines to meet in filing a claim, there's no guarantee that your medical malpractice claim will be successful in court. For the plaintiff, one of the most crucial points in the case is in proving the defendant doctor or medical staff breached the standard of care.
Standard of care is defined as what most doctors would agree reflects the degree of care and skill that a reasonable and competent physician should exercise in the care of a patient. When it comes to cardiovascular disease (CVD), physicians can stray from the standard of care in many ways. But sometimes, even when an injury can be linked to a physician's actions, the case may be unsuccessful if the standard of care is followed.
One example of an unsuccessful CVD-related medical malpractice claim involved an 80-year-old woman who went to the hospital complaining of chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath. The defendant cardiologist diagnosed acute myocardial infarction (MI) through lab tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG). The cardiologist advised the plaintiff that she should be treated at a facility that had the capacity to perform cardiac catheterization and angioplasty, and recommended emergency transport - she refused.
Alleging no other choice, the physician administered fibrinolytic therapy as a necessary treatment to avoid a second heart-attack. The plaintiff consented to the therapy and was aware of the inherent risks of the procedure. After receiving the medication, she suffered a stroke.
Now confined to a wheelchair and residing in a nursing home, the woman filed suit against the cardiologist. Though she had some aspects of a meritorious medical malpractice claim, the jury's verdict favored the cardiologist, in large part due to the fact that the standard of care was never breached.
The defendant's expert witness testified that even a 30-minute delay in the administration of medical therapy has been found to reduce life-span by approximately one year, and that had she not received the treatment, a second heart-attack was likely. After arguing that stroke was a known and foreseeable risk to the treatment, it was proven through medical records that the plaintiff had been given adequate informed consent. Because the plaintiff could not prove that the defendant cardiologist breached that standard of care in any way, her medical malpractice claim was lost.