Standard of care

For a physician a duty of care is a legal obligation imposed requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing acts likely to harm others.

The existence of a duty and responsibility of care exists because of a contractual relationship between a patient and a physician.

When the physician-patient relationship is established, the physician has the responsibility to possess medical knowledge required of a reasonably competent medical practitioner engaged in the same specialty, he or she has a duty to possess skills necessary for a reasonably competent health care practitioner engaged in the same specialty, has the duty to exercise care in the application of knowledge and skill expected of a reasonably competent physician, and is required to use the medical judgment in the exercise of that care of a reasonably competent practitioner in the same medical specialty.

The rules and standards governing liability of physicians and surgeons are applicable to practitioners of other branches of the healing arts.

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