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                        USE OF CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

A  New York court stated,

A. What are Clinical Practice Guidelines

Clinical practice guidelines have been defined variously as “systematically developed statements to assist practitioner
and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances,” and as “standardized specifications for
care, either for using a procedure or for managing a particular  clinical problem” (Rosoff, The Role of Clinical Practice
Guidelines in Health Care Reform, 5 Health Matrix 369, 370 [1995]).

They are standards published in various journals.  Their use centers on various factors,

1) authoritativeness,

2) whether they are intended as standards, or suggestions, do they represent the current standards, or suggestions for the future.  a practitioner need not foresee medical advances or provide new treatements, he escapes liability by showing he adhered to current standards of care.   

B. Use of Clinical Practice Guidelines

"Courts have set some parameters for the use of clinical practice guidelines in medical malpractice cases. For example,
in Diaz v New York Downtown Hospital (99 NY2d 542, 545 [2002]), we rejected the use of clinical practice guidelines by
plaintiff’s expert to prove an accepted practice where the authoring body explicitly stated the guidelines were “not rules”
and the expert failed to set forth a factual basis for her reliance on them. In Levine v Rosen (616 A2d 623, 628 [Pa
1992]), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted approvingly that the parties introduced conflicting recommendations of the American
Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricans and Gynecologists, and viewed the guidelines as “[u]nquestionably”
establishing that two schools of thought existed in the medical community on a relevant issue. See also Frakes v Cardiology
Consultants PC (1997 WL 536949 [Tenn Ct App 1997] [Koch, Jr., J. concurring] [noting that clinical practice guidelines have
emerged as a response by the medical profession to perceived shortcomings in medical practice, and that such guidelines can
materially assist jurors when properly authenticated, though they should not necessarily be viewed as conclusive evidence of the
standard of care])."