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When a Doctor Says "It Was a Judgment Call"; What Does That Really Mean?


A: In order for a doctor to be found responsible for your injuries, we must prove that he departed from good and accepted medical care. We must have a medical expert confirm that the doctor departed from good and accepted care in order to to prove we have a valid case.

Many times, the doctor will claim in his defense that what he did was make a judgment call using the best information available at that time.

He will argue that a 'judgment call' does not rise to the level of departing from good and accepted medical practice. This can be a compelling argument. However, if the doctor's choice of treatment was unacceptable, then that judgment call may rise to the level of improper medical care requiring a verdict in our favor.

Doctors and their attorneys often like to use the analogy that you can go to five different doctors for treatment; four of whom tell you they would treat you a particular way. When you go to the fifth doctor, he says “No, I would not treat you that way, instead I would treat you the following way.”
The reality is that as long as each of those methods of treatment are within the acceptable medical standards of care, then it will be difficult if not challenging to disprove the choice made by one of the doctors, using his best knowledge, experience and education at that moment.

However, do not believe for one second that this common defense prevents you from explaining to the jury, through expert medical testimony, exactly what a 'judgment call' is and why in your particular case it was inappropriate and represents a departure from what is good medical practice.