A person who seeks out medical care has the right to expect that the care he or she receives will meet certain standards. The standard of care for treatment and surgery serves two important purposes -- it helps to ensure that patients receive adequate care and helps to hold doctors accountable if the care they provide doesn't meet the standards.
There are a few points that are important regarding the standard of care. The skill and expertise of the doctor are considered when you are trying to determine if a doctor met the standard of care. How another doctor with similar training and in the same area would handle a case also plays a part in determining if a doctor met the standard of care.
When it comes to the expertise of the doctor, the level of knowledge is important. A doctor who has specialized knowledge would be held to a higher standard than a doctor who has only general knowledge. For example, an oncologist would be held to a higher standard than a family physician when a patient has cancer. A pediatric cardiologist would be held to a higher standard than a pediatrician if a patient has hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
The standard of care is an important aspect of a medical malpractice case. If the doctor didn't provide care that meets that standard and the patient suffered harm, the patient might opt to seek compensation. Understanding how to seek compensation is vital for anyone who has experienced harm in this manner, especially since expert testimony is likely to be required in these cases.
Source: FindLaw, "Standard of Care: Treatment and Surgery," accessed Oct. 07, 2015