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What is the standard of care in a medical malpractice case?

The standard of care is simply the medical care a reasonable, prudent physician, in the same or similar circumstances, would give. It is sometimes called the standard of practice and is the practice of most physicians in a given specialty at a certain time. Proving the standard of care is an essential element of a medical malpractice case. An expert witness, usually a physician in the same medical specialty as the doctor being sued, is usually required to establish the standard of care in a medical malpractice case. In D.C. medical malpractice cases and in Maryland medical malpractice cases, the standard of care is a national standard. This means an accepted medical practice throughout the country - the medical care is no different in the District of Columbia, or Chicago or Kentucky, for example. In Virginia medical malpractice cases, a statewide standard of care applies (although it can be the same as the national standard of care as well). A standard of care based on local practice is also permissable in Virginia medical malpractice cases.