In medical malpractice cases, the most important thing to establish is, what is the standard of care? The standard of care in medical malpractice cases is "that degree of skill and learning used by members of the healthcare provider's profession under the same or similar circumstances." Often times, hospitals, doctors, and nurses will contend that if their care falls within hospital guidelines, the care provided met the standard of care.
Recently, we have been working on a case where the hospital and doctor now argue that while the care provided was outside of hospital guidelines, the guidelines are not the standard of care, but are just a suggestion on how treatment is to be provided to patients. In our view, this sets a dangerous precedent where healthcare providers want it both ways. It would be quite the stretch for a plaintiff or injured person to argue that a doctor who was within guidelines fell below the standard of care. So why does a doctor or hospital get to argue that the guidelines are not the standard of care, especially when they wrote their own guidelines?
Do you want to be treated in a hospital where the guidelines of the facility are "just a suggestion"?
It will be interesting to see how a jury views this argument and what happens with the case.