(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death/elder abuse case and its proceedings.)
A medical practitioner is not to be held responsible merely because his treatment of a patient was not successful or was accompanied by untoward consequences. The practitioner is not omniscient or capable invariably of knowing that his professional acts will achieve the desired result; he is responsible only where it is established that he did not act with the knowledge or foresight of practitioners generally or as a reasonably skillful and experienced practitioner would have acted in the same circumstances.
The law does not require that a physician have the highest skill medical science knows. He or she is deemed to represent that he has only that reasonable degree of learning and skill possessed by practitioners of the same school or method in the locality and which is ordinarily regarded by those conversant with his type of practice as necessary to qualify him to engage therein. And the law makes allowance for human weakness in the application of skill and learning. The practitioner is required to use his best judgment in exercising his skill and applying his knowledge, but mere errors in judgment are not ground for liability unless the skill and judgment actually employed fall below the standard. Negligence on the part of a doctor is never presumed.
In a malpractice case, generally speaking, the doctor must be tested with respect to his knowledge and skill by the average knowledge and skill of practitioners of the same school of medicine in the locality where the doctor carries on his profession. It should be noted that Dr. Leonard was a general practitioner and did not claim to be a specialist, and that the amount of care to be expected from a general practitioner in a given locality is not as great as that expected from a specialist. (Allen v. Leonard (1969) 270 Cal.App.3d 209, 215-216.)
In this case, the applicable standard of care would be for emergency room hospital staff and physicians. Dr. Jane Fine is board certified in emergency medicine and well qualified to discuss the standard of care for emergency room treatment by physicians and hospital staff. She is also fully qualified to render opinions regarding whether the treatment rendered to Mr. Ryan in the emergency room at Universal Medical Center was within that standard of care under the circumstances of this case. She has opined that neither Dr. Greene nor the staff at Universal was negligent in any way with regard to the treatment rendered to Mr. Ryan upon his presentation to the emergency room. Rather, it is his opinion, based on his review of the medical records of Mr. Ryan from Universal Medical Center, that all treatment rendered by the staff and Dr. Greene while Mr. Ryan was in fill cardiac arrest in the emergency room was within the standard of care. The code and hold counts were well within the standard of emergency room care as documented in the medical records. (See Part 10 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.