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Medical malpractice or more appropriately, medical negligence, is an act or a failure to act by a health care provider that deviates from the accepted standard of care for a health care provider practicing in that field.  There is a law in Alaska that directly addresses this.  It states as follows:

In a malpractice action based on the negligence or willful misconduct of a health care provider, the plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence

(1) the degree of knowledge or skill possessed or the degree of care ordinarily exercised under the circumstances, at the time of the act complained of, by health care providers in the field or specialty in which the defendant is practicing;


(2) that the defendant either lacked this degree of knowledge or skill or failed to exercise this degree of care.

The above routinely is boiled down to “Did the doctor fail to meet the accepted standard of care in the treatment of his/her patient?”  If the answer is yes, then there has been medical malpractice.

Be aware that the law states that the plaintiff (that is the patient) must prove that the health care provider has committed malpractice.  Alaska courts have interpreted this to mean in nearly all cases the patient must submit proof in the form of a report and testimony from another health care provider “certified by a board recognized by the state as having acknowledged expertise and training directly related to the particular field or matter at issue.” (quoted portion is from Alaska Statue 09.20.185)

This means that part of bringing a medical malpractice action includes obtaining at least one expert (and frequently more) that is a board certified physician practicing in the field of the doctor who is being sued.


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