P went to lab in DC to have a urethral smear test. The test was administered by D while P was standing.
P had an adverse reaction to the test and fainted. He struck his head on a metal blood pressure stand and on the floor. He lost his senses of smell and taste.
P presented evidence at trial that the national standard of care is that the patients be seated while the test is done.
D argued that standard practice in DC is that the test is done while the patient is standing.
Trial judge instructed the jury to disregard the testimony about the national standard of care.
Trial court found D not liable.
DC COA reversed, remanded for new trial.
What locality standard should be used in determining a doctor's standard of care?
A national standard of care should be used in determining whether a doctor is negligent for malpractice.
The local standard of care rule is a relic from the 19th century. It was created so that rural doctors wouldn't be held to a higher standard than they should be (i.e. to the level of better educated urban doctors).
DC is not isolated and does not need separations between city and country doctors.
Now, there are national accreditation boards that ensure that doctors are educated in the same way and have similar knowledge and skills.
No other professions have a local standard of care (architects, lawyers).
This ruling only applies to board certified physicians, hospitals, medical laboratories, and other health care providers.