The concept of “minimum standard of care” has gone a long way toward causing damage to the livelihood of many Texas dentists. Particularly where the standards of care as established in guiding documents are murky or unclear, dentists can find themselves being held to what appeared to be only recommendations, with their livelihoods on the line.
The minimum standard of care is a legal concept that basically describes the quality and type of treatment that a dentist of similar skill-level in the area would have provided, given circumstances that were the same or similar. Some standards are codified in Rule 108.7 of the Texas Administrative Code, but often issues raised fall outside of the clear rules laid down by the code. This makes the minimum standard of care into something of a murky concept, because it comes down to a matter of opinion — and it’s a truism of human nature for people to look at a given situation and think, “I would have done that differently, and my way would have been better.” Often these standards are established in legal cases by an expert witness with experience performing the sort of procedure at question (and everyone knows that sides to a dispute will invariably choose experts whose opinions skew toward their side).
In a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff (the accuser) must prove that the dentist “breached” the minimum standard of care by causing an injury or making an existing injury worse. But someone who reads the news will often note that representatives for licensing boards tend to make statements to the effect of, “the standard for finding fault by licensing boards is not as high as it is for the court.” And this tends to be true, as the default position is in favor of protection of patients, rather than the attempt at even-handedness generally hoped for from the courts.
Which is to say, if you are a dentist and find yourself being notified of a claim against your professional license to be reviewed by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, you want to get an experienced professional license defense attorney on your team immediately, to increase your chance of keeping your license to practice dentistry.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.
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