It is often very difficult to know whether post-operative pain, complications, or infection could have been prevented had the surgeon performing the procedure taken greater care with the patient who is now suffering. Surgeons aren’t always willing to admit when they make mistakes, nor are they always aware that they have made missteps when treating a patient. As a result, patients are often left in the dark as to the genuine causes of their suffering.

Thankfully, attorneys who have extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases understand how to uncover the truth of what has befallen a patient and how to spot signs of professionally substandard patient care. In the event that a patient is in a strong position to hold a medical professional liable for harm, an attorney can advocate on behalf of that patient’s interests.

What Is Substandard Care?

As an experienced Oregon medical malpractice lawyer – including those who practice at Andersen Morse & Linthorst – can explain in greater detail, the issue of whether a patient has suffered as a result of substandard care is central to whether they are a victim of an error or other form of medical negligence that is legally actionable.

Accidents happen. Mistakes are made. The issue of whether a surgical mistake, error, or misstep is legally actionable is determined by a few legal elements. First, it must be established that the medical professional named as a defendant in a lawsuit owed the victim a duty of care under the law. This is usually very easy to prove in a surgical error case because it would be exceptionally rare that the surgeon operating on a patient wasn’t somehow recognized as the patient’s physician in – at minimum – a time-limited capacity.

Second, it must be established that the defendant provided the patient with substandard care that directly led to the victim’s harm. Substandard care in a surgical error context is broadly defined as a lesser standard of care than would be provided by another reasonably competent surgeon facing similar circumstances. If the defendant named in the case is a medical facility, this definition would simply be altered to reflect the standard of care provided by reasonably competent medical facilities of the same type.

Essentially, if a surgical patient is harmed directly as a result of substandard care, they likely have strong grounds upon which to sue those responsible for that substandard care.

Evaluating Each Patient’s Unique Circumstances

It is worth repeating that patients aren’t always aware that their suffering stems from receiving substandard care. This is partially why it is so important that any patient who has questions about their rights and options consider speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If a reputable lawyer thinks it might be worth investigating a patient’s circumstances, that patient could benefit tremendously from any rightful compensation awarded in their case. Additionally, bringing the truth into the light can help to ensure that patients receive justice and future patients are subjected to lower risks of the same mistakes occurring again and again.