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3/25/2015· Medical Malpractice

How Can Causation Be Established in a Labor and Delivery Malpractice Action?

By: Dr. James Wheeler

A malpractice action requires the plaintiff to prove: (1) the defendant caregiver owed a duty of care to the plaintiff-patient, (2) the caregiver departed from that standard of care, and (3) that departure from the standard of care actually caused the injury claimed by the plaintiff. "Causation" 11; often the critical component in a malpractice action because the presence of a duty is often obvious, except perhaps in "Good Samaritan" cases, but the statutorily-required expert witnesses will argue about whether the caregiver departed from some standard of care. Because defining "causation" is difficult, there are interesting distinctions in legal versus medical, sociological, or philosophical concepts of cause-and-effect. Applying this difficult concept of "causation" to the very complex world of labor and delivery (L&D) does indeed beg the question, just how can causation be established?

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