WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN THE STATE OF UTAH
My name is George Tait, I’m a medical malpractice attorney here in Salt Lake City, Utah.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE IS THE SAME THING
Medical malpractice and medical negligence is the same thing. Medical malpractice also known as medical negligence occurs simply when a doctor fails to do what they should do or do what they should not do. This is all based on what attorneys and the law calls the standard of care.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IS ALL ABOUT SAFETY
Medical malpractice boils down to a physician, or any healthcare provider, or healthcare facility for that matter, fails to do what they’re supposed to do or does something they are not supposed to do. For me medical malpractice is a simple safety issue.
WHO DECIDES THE STANDARD OF CARE
Juries in the state in Utah determine the standard of care—juries determine whether the healthcare provider has done the right thing or failed to do the right thing when caring for someone in our community. Juries determine what the standard of care based upon expert testimony.
You know it is always fascinating to me when juries hear at trial that what the doctor did was somehow good enough. Juries hear from conflicting experts; you hear from the defendant’s experts, the doctors or the facilities experts, and you hear from the plaintiff’s experts about what they should have done. The jury ultimately decides based on this conflicting testimony between the two experts—the defense’s expert and the plaintiff’s expert.
WHAT STANDARD OF CARE DO YOU WANT IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Now the doctors or the healthcare facility experts are always arguing that whatever the doctor or the facility did meet the standard of care. The plaintiff’s expert is always arguing for a standard of care that people want. People want their doctors to do the right thing, not just do something good enough.
They want, people want, juries want, communities want safety. They want doctors to do what they’re required to do. And when a doctor fails to do what he or she should do or does something that he or she should not do, that’s medical negligence. It is a safety issue because the community decides ultimately at trial which standard of care they’re willing to accept in their community. So, when a jury accepts the standard of care that’s good enough, is that what we want? We as a community? I think we want doctors and health care facilities to do better than good enough. We don’t want good enough, we should want what everyone wants—good healthcare.
God knows we pay a lot for medicine. We should get what we pay for—good medicine—not medicine that is simply good enough. “Good enough” just does not cut it!
CONFLICTING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE TESTIMONY
Medical malpractice is the same as medical negligence, medical negligence is same as medical malpractice. Whether the healthcare provider did or did not do correctly determines whether the provider was negligent. To figure out whether what the provider did was correct we look to experts to tell us what a reasonably prudent provider would have done or should not have done in the same or
similar circumstances—the standard of care. Ofcourse these expert opinions for the defendant doctor or the facility always differ from that of the plaintiff’s expert. The plaintiff’s expert wants a standard of care which is high. The defendant’s expert always want the lower standard. Ultimately the jury decides. The jury either accepts the defendant’s opinion—medicine that is good enough or, the plaintiff’s opinion—medicine that we all want. I think it is a no brainer but medical malpractice cases are hard fought cases. Either the doctor or the healthcare facility, either did something they weren’t supposed to do or failed to do something they should’ve done. Juries decide—do you want good medicine in your community or medicine that is simply good enough?