Medical Malpractice Vs Negligence: What’s The Difference?

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Like everyone else, health practitioners and workers tend to make mistakes in their job. Whether in the execution of procedures or conduct of protocols, there are instances when medical practitioners make mistakes that could potentially cause harm to other people. Although those errors might be out of honest mistakes, patients may file a claim to receive compensation for their injuries after the incident. However, before anything else, it’s crucial to know the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence.

Most people often use medical malpractice and negligence interchangeably to refer to one another. However, it’s crucial to note that these two medical terms are mainly different. While some people may think that understanding medical negligence and malpractice is as easy as pie, proving such cases in court could be challenging, especially if you don’t know what they mean.

That said, knowing their differences are crucial in proving medical negligence or proving malpractice for lawyers. This is because lawyers need sufficient basis to support a claim, and knowing the difference between medical malpractice and negligence can help them prove their claim in court better.

If you’re having difficulties differentiating malpractice from negligence, below are some necessary details about these terms you need to know.

Awareness Of The Potential Consequences 

If you want to file claims for medical negligence or malpractice, one of the first things you need to prove in court is the intention behind such actions. Was the incident intentional or not? You’ll have to know the level of awareness of the person to the potential consequences of their action or decisions to prove medical malpractice or negligence.  

Typically, medical negligence occurs when the practitioners make a mistake and aren’t aware of the possible outcome of their actions. However, if it’s medical malpractice, the person might be aware of the probable harm their decision may cause to the patient and still proceed with it. Apart from that, malpractice could also occur when medical professionals fail to take action despite the knowledge of the potential outcome of their activity. Or they made decisions that’d potentially jeopardize the patient’s welfare. With these, when proving medical practice, it is crucial to determine their knowledge about the proximate cause, which means that the offender knows what may happen and goes for it. 

Medical Standard Of Care 

Aside from the underlying intentions behind their actions, it’s noteworthy to mention that medical malpractice may differ from negligence depending on the nature of the error, especially in terms of the medical standard of care. For instance, one may prove medical negligence if the practitioner failed to comply with the duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages.  

Another example of negligence is when the doctor or nurse fails to get the patient’s age, medical history, and nature of illness or injury; which may compromise their condition. On the contrary, medical malpractice typically happens because practitioners don’t follow proper health protocols and safety guidelines. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice may include the following: 

  • Inability to order appropriate tests 
  • Failure to diagnose diseases and other health conditions 
  • Failure to disclose vital information to patients 
  • Surgical errors 
  • Conduct hazardous surgeries and operations 
  • Prescribing incorrect medications to patients 

If you want to sue for negligence, you must first ensure that the offender is a medical professional or an institution since it’s one of the qualifiers for such offenses. Of the two, medical malpractice is considered graver compared to negligence due to its nature. 

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Conduct Of Protocols And Guidelines 

When proving medical negligence or malpractice, you might also have to consider the conduct of protocols and guidelines during the incident. For instance, if the practitioner carefully follows appropriate guidelines while on duty but still committed a mistake, that’d be considered negligence. If the error committed was also out of honest mistake, such offenses would also fit for negligence.  

If you want to prove medical negligence, your lawyer must also assert violations of the duty of care due to one’s inability to provide adequate patient care. There’s also a breach of care or their incapacity to conduct health protocol appropriately, resulting in adverse outcomes and the presence of injury.  

On the other hand, if the offender didn’t give any second thought to the guidelines, which resulted in unfavorable results, it’d then classify as medical malpractice. Failure to make decisions or act based on required health guidelines could also be considered medical malpractice.   

Final Thoughts 

Dealing with medical malpractice or negligence could be tricky, especially if you have lesser knowledge about these two terms. Due to their uncanny similarities, it’s also common for people to have misconceptions about these cases. However, if you want to file a claim in court, it’s best to know the nature of such offenses to better differentiate them and them in court. 

You can consider some of the abovementioned things to understand medical malpractice and negligence better. Also, if you or you know someone who has experienced either of the two, it’s best to seek legal assistance to report it and file claims for better compensation.