Difference Between Medical Negligence & Medical Malpractice

Difference Between Medical Negligence & Medical Malpractice

Any patient that decides to visit a health care provider such as a doctor, dentist, chiropractor, hospital, nurse, physical therapist, or other medical professional expects to receive appropriate care for their medical condition. No patient ever expects to be worse off physically than they were when they first visited their health care provider. Unfortunately, research published by Johns Hopkins University indicates that a quarter of a million people in the United States die as a result of avoidable medical errors. As a result of a medical practitioner’s error, a victim may suffer additional injury or illness, resulting in astronomical medical bills, loss of wages due to an inability to return to work, psychological trauma, and pain and suffering. There are differences between filing a case as a medical negligence claim versus a medical malpractice claim. If you suffered injuries and losses related to medical negligence or medical malpractice of a health care provider, consider visiting with medical negligence and medical malpractice attorney at Fletcher Law Office to learn more about your legal rights, and answer your questions regarding your specific case.

Understanding the Differences Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence

While both medical malpractice and medical negligence result in the harm to a patient under a medical professional’s care, there are distinct differences between these two types of actions.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is the overall type of claim that a victim can bring if they suffer any kind of injury as a direct result of the actions or inactions of a medical care professions when an investigation determines that the medical professional knew (or should have known) that their actions or inactions concerning a patient’s care could result in potentially serious or life-threatening consequences. Examples of medical malpractice can include the following:

  • Failure to ensure that surgical equipment is properly sterilized
  • Birth injuries
  • Excessively delayed or shockingly incorrect diagnosis/misdiagnosis
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Practicing without a license
  • Failure to prescribe the correct medication (or overprescribing a certain medication)
  • Failure to ensure that any medical device placed inside a patient is not listed on a recall notice.
  • Surgical errors of an egregious nature

Doctors, dentists, nurses, hospital staff, pharmacists, and other medical professionals have a responsibility to ensure that they take all reasonable precautions and steps established by the medical community to ensure that they do not do any overt harm intentionally to a patient.

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is a subset of medical malpractice and also occurs when a medical professional causes harm to a patient. However, medical negligence describes a scenario where a healthcare provider unknowingly, or through the failure to take action, causes harm to a patient. Examples of medical negligence could include an accident where a doctor punctures an organ during a medical procedure or surgery, provides an incorrect dosage of anesthesia, fails to prescribe the correct medication, or fails to provide an adequate plan for aftercare for a patient following a medical surgery or procedure. Examples of medical negligence can include the following:

  • Accidentally leaving a sponge or other device in a patient during a surgery
  • Unintentionally making an error during a surgery, such as puncturing a nearby organ
  • Incorrect diagnosis based on a reasonable interpretation of diagnostic testing and presentation of symptoms

While the terms medical malpractice and medical negligence are often used interchangeably, medical negligence specifically refers to instances where a medical professional lacked the intent to cause harm. In most cases of medical negligence, the healthcare provider followed accepted medical standards and simply made a mistake that resulted in serious harm to their patient. Essentially, the key difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence is whether or not the medical provider acted in good faith in an attempt to do the correct thing for his or her patient.

Challenges Involved With Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice Cases

If you suffered injuries or losses as a result of medical negligence, you still have a legal right to pursue a claim to receive compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. Most medical negligence cases remain legally complex and challenging to pursue because the victim must show that the medical professional acted outside of the scope and regulations established by standards within the medical community. Many medical negligence cases require the testimony of experts who can confirm that the medical professional had a duty to act in a specific way during the course of their medical advice, treatment, surgery, or procedure as established by the medical community, and their medical negligence resulted in injury or harm to the patient. Many medical negligence cases require an independent investigation to determine conclusively that the medical provider acted with negligence resulting in the harm or injury to the patient.

Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice Settlement Amounts

Tens of thousands of medical negligence and medical malpractice cases are filed in the United States every year. Every case involving medical negligence will have its own set of facts and circumstances. However, in all cases, victims of medical negligence only have a small window of opportunity to file a claim in both Kansas and Missouri. The deadline to file a claim (also known as a statute of limitations) in Missouri is two years from the date of the medical negligence to file a claim under Title XXXV Civil Procedure, Chapter 516.015. The deadline to file a claim in Kansas is also two years under Kansas Statutes Chapter 60-513. There are certain circumstances under which a victim may have additional time, and visiting with a medical negligence attorney at Fletcher Law Office can help you better understand the amount of time you have to file your claim.

Learn How a Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help With Your Claim

Injury Accident Lawyer, Gage Fletcher

If you suffered injuries or losses attributable to a health care provider’s medical negligence or malpractice, you may have the right to receive compensation for those losses. Learn more about how personal injury attorney at Fletcher Law Office can help you understand your legal rights and help you build a strong case. Contact our legal team today either online through our immediate chat service available on our website, or by phone at (816) 631-2868 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.