Everyone can make mistakes, including your doctor. Healthcare-relateed mistakes are referred to as either medical malpractice, or medical negligence. The difference between the two depends on the healthcare professional’s awareness of the situation at hand. Read on to learn the difference between medical negligence and malpractice.
Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional’s decision does not meet the medical standard of care to the patient. This means that the care provided should meet the level and care of a competent healthcare professional. For medical negligence to have occurred, a medical professional had to make a decision that deviated from the medical standard of care. One important thing to remember is that medical negligence does not equal injury. If a doctor deviates from the medical standard of care while treating the patient, but the patient is not injured and there are no health issues, the negligence will not lead to medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when medical negligence leads to harm or injury due to the healthcare professional’s negligent treatment. If the patient is injured, harmed, or has a worsened condition that leads to additional treatment, this could be considered a medical malpractice case. In short, for medical negligence to become medical malpractice, legal causation and damages would have had to occur during treatment of the patient.
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a term referring to the relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider. The healthcare provider has a legal duty to treat the patient the best way that they are able. Duty of care comes into consideration when classifying a medical malpractice or medical negligence case. Duty of care plays a role in the these cases because it can impact a malpractice or negligence claim.
These differences can be a little fuzzy at times. Understanding the difference between the two is important if you believe you are a victim of one or the other. If you need to speak with an attorney for a potential medical malpractice case, please get in touch with our office at 410-421-7731.