Readers in Houston, Texas, should be careful about choosing a doctor to perform their surgeries. Recently, an obstetrician in another state was placed on a five-year probation for surgical errors that injured patients.
According to the state’s Board of Medicine, the obstetrician failed to conform to the minimal standard of acceptable and prevailing practice of medicine and surgery. The doctor was cited for her care of 10 patients within a year and a half timeframe. These patients suffered from organ damage and other injuries including perforated uteri during endometrial ablations and a hysterectomy, as well as ureteral injuries during hysterectomies, just to name a few. In addition to the probation, the doctor must also pay a civil penalty of $2,500.
This story brings up the important issue of negligence in medical malpractice cases. There are different standards when determining negligence of a member of the general public versus that of a medical professional. For a member of the public, the person’s conduct is based on how a reasonably prudent person might action in the same situation or circumstance. However, for medical professionals, the standard is different.
For medical professionals, their practice or conduct is judged at a level of competency and professionalism that must be in line with the specialized training, experience and care of a reasonably prudent physician operating in the same or similar position. This is what is known as the standard of care or professional duty that doctors owe to their patients. When this standard of care is breached, and the patient suffers an injury, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.
While it is important for patients to choose doctors and surgeons wisely, sometimes even the most skillful physicians can breach the standard of care owed to their patient, for a number of reasons, resulting in serious injury. It is therefore important for patients to know what legal remedies are available to them in case they are injured by their doctor.
Source: WCFCourer.com, “Local obstetrician placed on probation for injuring patients,” Oct. 9, 2012