Beyond Malpractice: What Is Medical Negligence?

We’ve all seen far more headlines about major medical incidents than we’d like.

Unfortunately, this fact may not change anytime soon. A 2018 study by Johns Hopkins found that medical mistakes kill over 250,000 US citizens each year, making it the third-largest cause of death in the nation.

It’s easy to come away from most headlines believing these medical professionals are knowingly endangering the lives of their patients, but that’s not always the case. Though medical negligence and medical malpractice are often used synonymously, there are subtle differences between them. The difference is all about awareness.

Here’s what you should know about these two medical mistakes.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional causes injury to a patient. In this situation, the professional is aware of the possible ramifications of their actions. Regardless, they follow through with them anyway.

The classic example is medical malpractice through surgery. When a surgical professional rushes through a procedure, does not sterilize a piece of equipment, or is impaired during surgery, medical malpractice has been committed. Other examples can include overprescribing medication or ignoring lab results.

Though the consequences may be severe, the result doesn’t have to be fatal for you or a loved one to have a medical malpractice case. Only legal help can assist you in deciding whether you should press forward with your claim.

What Is Medical Negligence?

On the other hand, medical negligence can actually be one smaller component of a medical malpractice claim. At its most basic definition, this medical mistake happens when a medical professional fails to provide the standard of care.

Medical malpractice can often involve incidents in which a medical professional knowingly acted against a patient’s best interests. On the other hand, medical negligence occurs when a doctor unknowingly causes harm. This can be the result of ignorance, accidents, or inaction.

For example, a doctor might prescribe a drug that interacts poorly with a patient’s other medications. A surgical professional might puncture an organ. A doctor might misread lab results.

These unfortunate accidents affect the patient’s health despite the doctor’s best efforts and intentions.

Getting compensation for this type of case can be tricky. This is especially true if you have difficulty providing evidence about the event. Using this helpful guide can help you figure out the next steps for your claim.

Get Legal Help for a Medical Negligence or Malpractice Case

The details of medical negligence cases can be complex. And unfortunately, getting compensation for negligence claims can be difficult without expert help.

When you’ve had a horrible medical experience, it’s important to know what type of medical mistake has been committed. From there, you’ll be able to learn the proper steps to prove you were wronged. Find an attorney with expertise in the area to help you understand your rights.

For more of the health and legal tips you need most, check out our other blog posts for details.


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