Medical professionals devote years to their studies and education pursuing their profession with a deep knowledge of their roles. However, doctors aren’t perfect, and they can make mistakes. If they do, the outcome for the patient can be devastating. If you or someone you love has been affected by an error during a medical treatment, taking legal action is the best option, however, the next steps will be dependent on identifying negligence vs malpractice.

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Negligence vs Malpractice: What’s the Difference? 

These two concepts are very similar; however, the differences narrow down to the awareness or intent of the medical professional. 

Medical Negligence: This occurs when your doctor accidentally or unintentionally causes harm to their patient. 

Medical Malpractice: This occurs when a doctor is fully aware of the potential consequences, and neglects to correct their behavior. Intent plays a key role in medical malpractice. 

These are just brief descriptions: let’s discuss them in more detail. 

What is Medical Negligence? 

Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional’s duty of care is ignored.  Doctors who commit negligence have no ill will but instead make an accidental error that causes harm to the patient.  

For example, if a doctor fails to provide you with a lifesaving prescription drug simply because they forgot to write a prescription, this is considered negligence. Another example is accidentally giving a patient too much anesthesia. In some cases, a doctor can remedy their own negligence to correct the mistake; but in other cases, it may be too late, and the patient can be harmed. 

What is Medical Malpractice? 

Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients; medical malpractice refers to an intentional neglect of this duty. As mentioned previously, intentionality plays a key role. For a malpractice case, the doctor providing care must be aware of the medical errors they are making and neglect to correct their behavior even though they are fully aware that the patient could be harmed.  

For example, if a healthcare professional deliberately fails to administer a necessary prescription out of carelessness or disinterest, resulting in the patient passing away. Another example is pushing a dangerous procedure on a patient for compensation reasons (surgeons being paid based on productivity). Medical malpractice is generally more difficult to prove since most medical professionals will argue that their mistakes were accidental rather than intentional. However, with the right team of experts, it is possible.  

Foley & Small: Your Negligence vs Malpractice Experts 

Understanding the difference between negligence vs malpractice can influence the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was harmed due to medical negligence or medical malpractice, you have the right to seek justice. Foley & Small are legal professionals who are experts in medical cases and will determine the best course of action for your case. Contact us today!