The Difference Between Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice?

No one wants to think that their doctors are anything but smart, professional, and dedicated. Yet for thousands of people every single year, this is not the case. According to BMJ, medical errors are the third greatest cause of death in the United States- second only to heart disease and cancer. Even the brightest minds in the world fumble occasionally. Mistakes occur everyday in a variety of different ways. What if the mistake is more than just a simple error, what if it constitutes a crime? 

What Is Medical Negligence?

When a medical provider’s actions or inactions fail to meet the medical standard of care, their behavior constitutes what is termed “medical negligence.” This negligence results in causing harm to a patient. A few easy examples of medical negligence include unnecessary surgery, failure to understand or recognize symptoms, and errors done while performing surgery.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice, on the other hand, is when a medical professional fails to provide a patient with the accepted standard of practice and causes harm, injury, and/or death. This could be the wrong procedure being performed, surgery performed on the wrong body part, and any type of event that should never take place in a medical facility under any circumstance. Prescribing the wrong medication is medical malpractice, and can easily lead to a person’s death.

The two terms are not actually describing two separate events. Instead of a “this or that” situation, it is more like “This may lead to that.” In order to have a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove medical negligence. Let’s discuss this a bit further.

Understanding The Key Difference Between Malpractice and Medical Negligence

The most distinctive difference between the two is the intent of the medical professional. Medical negligence describes a mistake that resulted in causing a patient unintended harm.  Medical malpractice, on the other hand, is when a medical professional knowingly didn’t follow through with the proper standard of care. The main difference is whether the mistake was truly an accident that could have happened to anyone or whether it was the direct result of the medical professional ignoring the rules and regulations of their field.

Despite the fact that rules and regulations are constantly being updated to improve patient safety, errors still occur. When the patient can prove the various legal elements that add up to medical malpractice, they can take legal action against the negligent medical provider to recover an award for their injury. This is often in the form of personal injury reconstruction animations. Here at Evidence Room, we have developed many dozens of presentations to illustrate the injury of a patient due to unsafe or negligent medical care conditions.

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