Recognizing the significant developments which have occurred in the training and practice of medicine, and the population shifts which have marked the increased urbanization of society, a majority of American courts have now abandoned the strict locality rule as being too narrow. The strict locality rule can no longer be sustained given the current state of medical science.
Appellants, child and guardian ad litem, brought a medical malpractice action against appellees, physicians and hospital, for injuries suffered by appellant child at birth. The trial court entered a directed verdict for appellees, ruling that the standard of care to be applied was the "strict locality" rule. The appellate court affirmed. Appellants appealed, and the court reversed the appellate court’s judgment and remanded the case.
Did the "strict locality" standard of care apply in medical malpractice cases in Maryland?
A physician was under a duty to use that degree of care and skill which was expected of a reasonably competent practitioner in the same class to which he or she belonged, acting in the same or similar circumstances. Advances in the profession, availability of facilities, specialization or general practice, proximity of specialists and special facilities, together with all other relevant considerations, were to be taken into account under the standard. A hospital was required to use that degree of care and skill which was expected of a reasonably competent hospital in the same or similar circumstances, and that as in cases against physicians, advances in the profession, availability of special facilities and specialists, together with all other relevant considerations, were to be taken into account.