Medical negligence can be a confusing term for many. Medically negligent behavior on behalf of a medical professional is unacceptable, but it can be difficult to determine if it has occurred or not. The definition of medical negligence is known as any deviation in the standard practice or standard of care that is to be expected of any medical professional. However, receiving an unfavorable diagnosis, treatment plan or outcome is not always necessarily medical negligence. If you or a loved one believe you may have experienced medical negligence on behalf of a medical professional, continue reading below to clarify what qualifies as medical negligence.
Medical negligence is determined by a few factors that must be present in order for medical negligence to have occurred. Doctors and other medical professionals have what is known as a “duty of care” to their patients. This means that they have a duty, or requirement, to provide the same level of care and treatment that any another reasonably competent medical professional would provide in the same instance. Under this duty of care, a medical professional can be found medically negligent if they deviate from the standard care that should have been provided to the patient. If a doctor, dentist, nurse, surgeon, orthodontist, or any other medically trained professional provides care that is less than the standard, then they are determined to be negligent.
It is important to know the difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice. Medical negligence does not always result in injury to the patient. Negligence is negligence regardless of the end result. A more common example is that of a negligent driver on the road. If a driver is speeding and driving erratically and crashes into a stop sign, but no one is injured, does this mean that the driver was not being negligent? Of course not. The same premise applies to medical negligence. A physician or other medical provider can be negligent in their duties to a patient and not cause injury to that patient and it is still considered medical negligence. It becomes medical malpractice when the physician’s negligence causes injury to the patient. Medical malpractice as a legal case surrounding patient injury includes making the patient’s condition worse, causes unreasonable or unexpected complications, or causes the need for additional medical treatment.
If you are still unsure whether or not your medical negligence should be a medical malpractice suit, don’t hesitate to contact us today!