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The role of specialization in medical malpractice lawsuits

The title "medical doctor" is a general phrase that applies to individuals who hold medical degrees. Medical doctors can practice their professions in many different specialties, such as pediatrics, cardiology and gastroenterology. It is important that San Diego residents recognize and understand that role that specialization can play in proving a medical malpractice case, particularly with regard to the application of the appropriate standard of care to the doctor or doctors under review.

For example, a doctor is expected to treat their patients with the requisite level of skill and knowledge that other doctors within their practice area would use in similar situations. A family practice doctor or generalist may have a good overall understanding of the human body but may not be skilled in identifying rare diseases of the heart or lungs; if a serious condition is suspected that generalist may refer the patient to a specialist whose practice area covers such issues.

To this end, when preparing a medical malpractice case a victim and their attorney must carefully assess what standard of care the responsible doctor was subject to when they were responsible for treating the victim litigant. If a doctor's actions and diagnoses fell within those that would be reasonable and expected for a doctor in that particular practice area then the victim's medical malpractice case may not stand up in court.

Patient care is a critical component of a doctor's job. Applying the appropriate standard of care to each patient ensures that doctors will effectively treat their patients and help them heal from the illnesses and injuries they suffer from. However, when lapses in care occur, and doctors commit medical mistakes, victim patients may have legal options for pursuing their losses from their medical practitioners.

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