To understand what sub-standard care is, we need to look at what the standard of care is. The standard of care is a level of expertise held across a community of medical experts in a particular field. All physicians and doctors should possess the basic knowledge and expertise when treating and diagnosing general illnesses. It is across this spectrum that the standards of care are set.
The "national board" exams for new doctors and "board certifications" for medical staff and personnel help enforce the strict guidelines of requirements involved in making sure every patient receives the best treatment possible.
Sub-standard care, treatment, or surgery is a medical malpractice that occurs when anything below the standards of care is provided. Some examples of sub-standard care include:
- Inadequate monitoring while under the care of a healthcare provider
- Improper diagnoses
- Failure to follow policies related to drug history records
- Lack of examination of medical history documents
- Over or underprescribing of medical drugs
- Medical negligence such as leaving operating utensils inside a patient’s body after surgery
If sub-standard care occurs, the result can be quite severe. Sometimes it will be difficult to predict how the sub-standard care will affect the patient. If a doctor or physician were to change a patient’s prescription without properly looking at the medical history documents, they may not realize the drugs they are now prescribing are not to be taken with what the patient currently has. The drugs may cause a severe reaction when taken together. If a patient suspects the drugs they are taking are not reacting the way they should, it may be best to seek a second opinion. Oftentimes doctors will be reluctant to testify against their colleagues, which may make it difficult to find another opinion on whether or not a patient received sub-standard care.
Sub-standard care as a medical malpractice should not be confused with the patient’s expectations. Just because a patient feels, in their opinion, they should be prescribed a drug that the doctor does not feel they need, does not mean it violates the standard of care. Or if a drug is prescribed to a patient, but that patient does not “feel” like the drug is affecting them or working. These two situations do not warrant sub-standard care as both occurrences involve a doctor or physician treating a patient as they feel is in the best interest of their patient.