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In tort law, the standard of care is the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care. A breach of the standard is necessary for a successful action in negligence.
The requirements of the standard are closely dependent on circumstances. Whether the standard of care has been breached is determined by the trier of fact, and is usually phrased in terms of the reasonable person. It was famously described in Vaughn v. Menlove (1837) as whether the individual "proceed[ed] with such reasonable caution as a prudent man would have exercised under such circumstances."
Professional standard of care[edit | edit source]
In certain industries and professions, the standard of care is determined by the standard that would be exercised by the reasonably prudent manufacturer of a product, or the reasonably prudent professional in that line of work. Such a test (known as the 'Bolam Test') is used to determine whether a doctor is liable for medical malpractice.
Medical standard of care[edit | edit source]
A standard of care is a medical or psychological treatment guideline, and can be general or specific. It specifies appropriate treatment based on scientific evidence and collaboration between medical and/or psychological professionals involved in the treatment of a given condition.
Some common examples include:
- Treatment standards applied within public hospitals to ensure that all patients receive appropriate care regardless of financial means.
- Treatment standards for gender identity disorders
1. Diagnostic and treatment process that a clinician should follow for a certain type of patient, illness, or clinical circumstance. Adjuvant chemotherapy for lung cancer is "a new standard of care, but not necessarily the only standard of care." (New England Journal of Medicine, 2004)
2. In legal terms, the level at which the average, prudent provider in a given community would practice. It is how similarly qualified practitioners would have managed the patient's care under the same or similar circumstances. The medical malpractice plaintiff must establish the appropriate standard of care and demonstrate that the standard of care has been breached.
Children[edit | edit source]
A special standard of care also applies to children, who are held to the behavior that is reasonable for a child of similar age, experience, and intelligence.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Care Standards Act 2000
- Clinical governance
- Duty of care
- National Care Standards (Scotland)
- Reasonable person
- Standard of care in English law
- Treatment protocols
References[edit | edit source]
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