Errors in health care can involve a wide variety of circumstances. Whether a patient is in a medical or surgical setting, a mental health setting, or some other area of health care, there is always a risk that something can go wrong. When a patient is harmed in the course of health care it is important the patient, or his or her surviving family, seek help in pursuing just compensation for their damages.
In any medical malpractice case, a plaintiff must be able to show that the accused provider breached accepted standards of care with respect to the patient. In the mental health setting, patients can sometimes be harmed by mistakes regarding medications. Medications errors are not uncommon in other forms of health care, but because psychiatrists often rely on medication to treat a patient’s systems, issues can arise in this area.
In any medical malpractice case, defining the standard of care is of critical importance for the plaintiff in order to achieve a favorable outcome. It is not always an easy task to clearly define the standard of care, particularly for practitioners in the counseling profession where there are a variety of competing approaches to caring for patients.
Different states have different approaches when it comes to standard of care, and there are a variety of sources of standards of care in the counseling profession. These sources include state statutes, regulations issued by state licensing boards, case law, professional association ethical codes, and even professional consensus. Standards of care based on ethics codes and professional consensus can be national in scope, applying to counseling professionals in every state, though consensus can also apply only locally.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue, and why it is important for those who have been harmed by a negligent counselor to work with an experienced malpractice attorney to protect their rights.