Medical malpractice lawyers evaluate potential cases. For there to be medical malpractice, the doctor must have failed to adhere to the accepted medical standard of care. Or the doctor must have failed to give the patient enough information to give informed consent.
But sometimes medical malpractice lawyers must prove more. Say a doctor claims that there were multiple ways to treat a given condition. In such a case, medical malpractice lawyers must prove that there really was only one acceptable way. (That is, one way that conformed to the accepted standard of care.)
Imagine a doctor claims that he chose one of two accepted treatment methods. The trial judge must then decide if a reasonable jury could agree. If so, the judge must give the medical judgment charge to the jury. However, if not, the doctor generally loses.
The following is the text of the charge. (I have shortened it somewhat for brevity’s sake.)
“A doctor may have to exercise judgment. Your focus should be on whether accepted standards of medical practice allowed judgment to be exercised. If you determine that the accepted standards of medical practice for … treatment with respect to [the treatment involved] did not allow for the treatment alternatives the doctor made here, then the doctor would be negligent.”
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYERS MUST KNOW THE MEDICAL JUDGMENT RULE
Recently, New Jersey appellate judges decided a medical judgment case. A patient died from an alleged bowel obstruction. The dispute involved when a colonoscopy could have been performed. The doctor claimed that there were two valid alternatives. And that he chose one of them.
The judges reversed a verdict of over one million dollars in favor of the victim, because the trial judge failed to give the medical judgment charge to the jury. You can read the case here.
If you ever are searching for medical malpractice lawyers, choose carefully. You want to choose an experienced lawyer. One who is familiar with the medical judgment rule, and the many other technical requirements of a medical malpractice case.