Doctors are in a privileged position to affect our health, on a day-to-day basis, dependent on the level of care they provide. In many instances doctors improve our quality of life and, at times, their care can be the difference between life and death. However, doctors are also human beings. Unfortunately to be human means that we sometimes make mistakes. When a doctor makes a mistake the damages run the gamut from causing limited pain and suffering to permanent disability or in some cases, death.
Medical Malpractice Definitions
For more than a century, Connecticut case law has held that a doctor in a medical malpractice case is judged by the standards of a “similar health care provider” (see Force v. Gregory, 63 Conn. 167,169 (1893)).
To succeed in a medical malpractice matter, the person bringing the claim, called a plaintiff, is required to prove that the defendant (usually the medical professional) breached the standard of care. This determination must be made by a doctor in the same specialty. In other words, if a heart doctor is alleged to have committed malpractice his conduct must be reviewed by another heart doctor. In essence, when reviewing conduct of medical providers Connecticut law requires that you compare “an apple to an apple.”
The “similar healthcare provider” rule in Connecticut was set forth as part of the tort reform legislation of 1986 as codified in Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-184c, which states:
- Sec. 52-184c. Standard of care in negligence action against health care provider. Qualifications of expert witness.
- In any civil action to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death occurring on or after October 1, 1987, in which it is alleged that such injury or death resulted from the negligence of a health care provider, as defined in section 52-184b, the claimant shall have the burden of proving by the preponderance of the evidence that the alleged actions of the health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider. The prevailing professional standard of care for a given health care provider shall be that level of care, skill and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.
- If the defendant health care provider is not certified by the appropriate American board as being a specialist, is not trained and experienced in a medical specialty, or does not hold himself out as a specialist, a "similar health care provider" is one who: (1) Is licensed by the appropriate regulatory agency of this state or another state requiring the same or greater qualifications; and (2) is trained and experienced in the same discipline or school of practice and such training and experience shall be as a result of the active involvement in the practice or teaching of medicine within the five-year period before the incident giving rise to the claim.
If the defendant health care provider is certified by the appropriate American board as a specialist, is trained and experienced in a medical specialty, or holds himself out as a specialist, a "similar health care provider" is one who: (1) Is trained and experienced in the same specialty; and (2) is certified by the appropriate American board in the same specialty; provided if the defendant health care provider is providing treatment or diagnosis for a condition which is not within his specialty, a specialist trained in the treatment or diagnosis for that condition shall be considered a "similar health care provider".
Any health care provider may testify as an expert in any action if he: (1) Is a "similar health care provider" pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of this section; or (2) is not a similar health care provider pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of this section but, to the satisfaction of the court, possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge as a result of practice or teaching in a related field of medicine, so as to be able to provide such expert testimony as to the prevailing professional standard of care in a given field of medicine. Such training, experience or knowledge shall be as a result of the active involvement in the practice or teaching of medicine within the five-year period before the incident giving rise to the claim. (Emphasis supplied)
Kocian Law Group has in-depth experience handling medical malpractice cases. When faced with the consequences of medical malpractice, including pain and suffering, medical bills, lost earnings and other damages, you need a law firm that knows how to provide you with the best representation possible.
The process of investigation claims of Medical Malpractice
There is a three step process to investigating whether or not you have been the victim of medical malpractice:
- The first step in the evaluation process is the obtaining of all available medical records. This is an important task. By reviewing your entire medical history we can learn the same information that your treating physician knew, or should have known, while you were receiving care and treatment. Also, medical history is a key component to the evaluation of these cases.
- The next step in investigating a claim for medical malpractice is a careful analysis of the medical information. Lining up your treatment chronologically is important to fully understanding your medical condition. Research through textbooks, learned treatises and by our firm’s experience is another key component to the evaluation of a potential medical malpractice claim. What usually starts off as an “ocean of information” in a medical malpractice case usually boils down to “a drop of water.”
- The final step in the process is to have your case reviewed by a similar health care provider. Since Connecticut law requires that a similar health care provider provide their opinion as to whether or not a medical doctor deviated from accepted standards of practice, it is required that a similar health care provider express their opinion. This helps our firm determine if the standard of care has been breached.
When reviewing medical malpractice matters Kocian Law Group spares no expense to properly present your case. Our firm will hire the experts necessary to properly present your claim, obtain the records required to advance your cause and meticulously prepare the case. We are experienced in handling more complex claims for which we have prepared “Day in the Life” video presentations to memorialize our client’s injuries and obtain the maximum compensation for their damages.
Kocian Law Group represents clients for a wide range of medical malpractice matters including:
- Anesthesia Errors
- Birth Injuries: Erb’s Palsy
- Risk Factors and Prevention Measures
- Proving Birth Injury Claims
- Birth Injuries: Forceps Delivery
- Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy
- Cancer Cases
- Emergency Room Negligence
- Glaucoma (Failure to Diagnose)
- Heart Attack (MI) Misdiagnosis
- Hospital Acquired Infections
- Injuries to Women
- Lack of Informed Consent
- Medication Errors
- Negligent Medical Treatment
- Nursing Home Claims
- Other Injuries to Children
- Pre and Post-Operative Surgical Errors
- Psychiatric Malpractice
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Radiological Misdiagnosis
- Stroke Misdiagnosis
- Surgical Errors
- Wrongful Death
CONTACT OUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS
Kocian Law Group makes it easy to get in touch with us. You can contact our medical malpractice attorneys online, or by calling 1-860-730-6100.