Institute:Office of National Coordinator (ONC) Workforce Training Curriculum
Component:Introduction to Health Care and Public Health in the U.S.
Unit:Regulating Health Care
Lecture:Legal Aspects of Medicine
Slide content:Elements of Malpractice Duty of reasonable care to the injured party Did not meet the minimum standard of care or failed to obtain informed consent Failure to meet the standard of care was the proximate cause of the injury The injury resulted in damages 14
Slide notes:The first element of any tort claim is to establish that the defendant had a duty to the injured party. In a medical malpractice claim, the defendant is generally the health care professional or organization that is being accused of negligence. Therefore, the injured person must establish that a professional relationship existed. For example, this could be a doctor-patient relationship, or the patient could simply show that a hospital admitted him or her for treatment. After the relationship is established, a duty of reasonable care is implied. Next, the patient must prove that the care provided was not up to the minimum standard of care that a reasonably prudent professional would provide in similar circumstances. It is not enough that the patient did not get better, or even that the patients condition worsened. The patient must prove that he or she did not receive appropriate treatment and that the health care professionals failure to provide appropriate treatment was the proximate , or primary, cause of the injury. Even if treatment was inadequate, the patient does not have a valid malpractice claim unless he or she was harmed. However, the harm does not have to be physical. For example, if the substandard treatment resulted in provable emotional distress, or if the patient had to miss work to receive additional treatment, these could qualify as harm for the purpose of proving a malpractice claim. 14