What Is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?

by Rosen & Ohr, P.A. | Medical Malpractice
medical negligence or malpratice lawyer

All healthcare patients in Florida deserve to be treated with a specific, acceptable “standard of care.” Florida law defines standard of care as a “level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar healthcare providers.”

If you do not understand the difference between malpractice and negligence, you are not alone. The significant difference is “intent.” A normal healthcare professional, be it a doctor, surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist, pharmacist, etc., does not intend (or even remotely want) to harm you. However, accidents and mistakes can and unfortunately do happen during health care treatment. These errors can unintentionally result in severe injuries, worsening illness, or other adverse health issues.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice in Florida means your healthcare professional failed in their duty to provide you with customary “standard of care” and their breach of care directly caused or resulted in you suffering harm.

Let’s examine a situation where your doctor makes a mistake when they unintentionally prescribe the wrong dosage of a medication for you. There could be many reasons why the doctor made this mistake. Perhaps they failed to review your prescription drug use history carefully. They may have made a calculation error involving the amount, frequency, or duration of medication. Regardless of the reason for the mistake, it was unintentional and would likely not be considered malpractice. Instead, it would be regarded as negligence.

If, however, your doctor reviewed your prescription drug use history and was aware of possible harmful risks or side effects but prescribed the medication for you anyway, and you suffered direct harm, this would likely be considered malpractice.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

The World Health Organization outlines some of the most common concerns for patient safety. Examples of medical malpractice can be found in each type of situation:

  • Medication errors – a leading cause of injury and avoidable harm in health care systems
  • Healthcare-associated infections – patients can contract disease while receiving care for other conditions. Examples include pneumonia, MSRA, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections
  • Unsafe surgical care procedures – can result in complications in up to 25% of patients
  • Unsafe injections practices – can transmit viruses, including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Diagnostic errors – more than 50% of diagnostic errors have the potential to cause severe harm
  • Unsafe transfusion practices – can expose patients to transfusion reactions and can transmit infections
  • Radiation errors – can be caused by overexposure to radiation sources, wrong-patient and incorrect body location
  • Sepsis – sepsis infections are often resistant to antibiotics
  • Blood clots – can result in serious bodily injuries, surgery, or immobility

What is Medical Negligence?

Examples of medical negligence include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Missed diagnosis
  • Ignoring or misreading laboratory results
  • Surgical errors
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Improper administration of medication (includes wrong doses)
  • Poor follow-up or care afterward
  • Premature discharge from the facility

What Is the Difference Between Negligence and Malpractice in Florida?

The between medical negligence and malpractice in Florida is the healthcare provider’s intent. If the medical professional made an unintentional error that caused the patient harm, that would fall under the category of medical negligence.

If a medical professional knowingly deviated from or failed to provide an acceptable standard of care, they could be liable for malpractice.

Contact Rosen & Ohr, P.A. in Hollywood, Florida Now for a Free Consultation

Both medical malpractice and medical negligence can result in serious harm to the patient. If you or a loved one needs a medical malpractice lawyer in South Florida or anywhere in the state, contact our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Rosen & Ohr, P.A. Call us today or reach out to us online.