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The duty of care owed by Ohio health care providers

Medical malpractice claims in Ohio and around the country are based on a premise that the health care defendant was negligent and failed to live up to its duty of care towards the patient. The first question is whether or not a provider-patient relationship has been established. If the patient requested and was given treatment for a specific condition or symptom by mutual consent, a duty of care is considered to exist.

The second question that has to be addressed is whether or not the practitioner or facility lived up to that duty. This means doctors are required to deliver the standard of care someone of average knowledge and skill in the field would normally provide for a condition, relying upon best practices and conventional medical knowledge and wisdom. This is a critical distinction in medical malpractice cases, because it directly affects the viability of a patient's claim.

The first element may be verified through testimony from involved parties as to whether a treatment relationship existed, as well as the plaintiff's medical records. The second element requires the defendant to show that the treatments, testing protocols and diagnostic procedures utilized for a particular patient were in accordance with the existing understanding and treatment protocols of a given ailment or problem. This may make or break a client's case depending upon whether duty of care was met.

When an attorney is representing a patient who is considering filing a lawsuit for damages based upon medical malpractice, the first step might be to determine whether or not a duty of care was owed to the plaintiff. If this is the case, the attorney may elect to examine the patient's medical records against normal care standards to decide if a case can be made. If so, the attorney may seek appropriate compensation for the plaintiff in a civil action and out-of-court negotiations.

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