The Law Offices of John Phebus

Health care providers and the duty of care

There are several facts that need to be established in an Arizona medical malpractice case. First, a plaintiff must establish that a health care provider owed him or her a duty of care. Second, it must be determined what the appropriate level of care was based on the circumstances in the case. This may be established either through the plaintiff's testimony or through that person's medical records.

To prove the first point, a patient must show that he or she had a relationship with the health care provider. This is done by showing that the patient sought treatment and was examined by the provider for the express purpose of treating an injury or illness. Furthermore, it must be established that the relationship was mutual and voluntary on both sides.

In all cases, a health care provider owes a patient a certain level of care. The provider may prove that this standard was met by establishing that a doctor performed as well as an average person in his or her profession would have based on the information available at the time. For instance, a doctor who specializes in orthopedics would meet this standard if he or she delivered the same level of care as another person with similar experience, tools and credentials.

Patients who are injured by the actions of a doctor or other medical care provider may want to consult with an attorney about the advisability of filing a medical professional negligence lawsuit. Through a review of the client's medical records and after consultation with medical experts, the attorney may be able to determine that the health care practitioner fail to exhibit the requisite standard of care and should thus be held financially responsible for the patient's damages.

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