A medical malpractice case, whether occurring in Kentucky or elsewhere, is based on the existence of negligence. This is the standard concept that applies in many other kinds of personal injury claims. In its simplest expression, it means the failure of the medical provider to use the degree of due care required under the circumstances. It can be manifested in cases involving improper medical treatment, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, birth injuries, errors in administering anesthesia and numerous other mishaps.

Negligence is just one of multiple factors that the plaintiff must prove. First, there must be a legal duty imposed on the defendant to act to keep the plaintiff safe from harm. This applies automatically in the typical doctor-patient relationship. Second, there must be negligence, the failure to use due care. Third, the plaintiff must prove legal causation, i.e., that the defendant’s negligence is a substantial factor in having caused the plaintiff’s claimed injuries. 

The plaintiff has the burden of proving the foregoing elements by a preponderance of the evidence. That is not an exacting standard similar to the test of reasonable doubt in a criminal case. Thus, the plaintiff does not have an extraordinarily heavy burden in proving the elements of a civil case against a medical provider.

Therefore, a medical provider in Kentucky and elsewhere commits medical malpractice when there is a failure to provide even the minimal standard of care that would be performed by a like professional of similar training and experience under the same or similar circumstances. That failure must cause the injuries claimed by the patient. Whether it be in the form of improper medical treatment, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, mishandled childbirths or any of the wide range of other mishaps, the patient and the patient’s family must always be vigilant to question unusual and highly unexpected outcomes and to go a step further and find out the causative factor involved.

 

Source: law.com, “As Medical Technologies Reduce Errors, Malpractice Attorneys Must Stay Informed“, Shaun Patrick, April 26, 2018