Medical Negligence vs. Medical Malpractice: What’s the Difference?
Medical malpractice is medical negligence.
The may not seem like an answer to the question posed in the title, but it stands as the best explanation. There really is no difference in the overwhelming majority of cases.
Proving medical malpractice requires showing that a health care provider or facility acted negligently or recklessly in ways that caused harm. Reckless behavior by a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist is relatively rare. One example would be performing surgery while drunk or under the influence of drugs. A reckless hospital or clinic could be operating without a license. Both of those examples could also be prosecuted as crimes.
Medical negligence is less alarming, but often no less dangerous. It is also more difficult to prove, which is why anyone who believes they have suffered from medical malpractice should hire a lawyer who has years of experience handling such cases.
Patients do not always recover. Sadly, patients sometimes die despite every best effort from medical professionals and institutions. To account for these realities, judges and juries ask the following five questions when deciding whether medical malpractice occurred:
- Did the patient suffer an injury or death?
- Did the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, hospital, or clinic named as the defendant owe a duty of care to the plaintiff (i.e., a duty not to behave negligently while providing medical services to this specific patient)?
- Did the defendant act in a negligent way by violating standards of care or professionalism?
- Did the injury or death occur because a person or organization acted negligently?
- Would the injury or death have occurred regardless of what the defendant did or failed to do?
The second two questions are the toughest to answer. In fact, Ohio laws and rules for medical malpractice complaints require plaintiffs to provide testimony from one or more qualified expert. An expert witness must be a licensed health professional who provides essentially the same services as the defendant and who can establish that he or she can speak knowledgeably about what standard of care the plaintiff could have expected to receive considering the plaintiff’s physical condition and location, as well as the relevant regulations, medical literature, and practice guidelines.
One of the primary services an Ohio medical malpractice lawyer offers clients is arranging testimony from expert witnesses. An attorney will also help a victim of medical negligence find appropriate rehabilitative care while working to identify and hold accountable all the individuals and organizations that failed the patient.
You can request a free meeting with a medical malpractice lawyer in Cleveland, OH, by calling Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318. We will come to you if your health makes visiting our offices difficult, and we may also be able to conduct an initial consultation via computer if you contact us online.