The difference between medical malpractice and negligence is the intent of the medical professional. Though this can be difficult to differentiate, medical negligence occurs when a mistake is made and harms a patient.
In medical malpractice cases, the medical professional knowingly fails to follow the proper standard of care. In many medical malpractice cases, the physician, nurse, or other medical professional involved may not have intentionally caused harm but failed to prevent harm.
During treatment, medical professionals must provide care to the best of their abilities. There are times when the exact outcome of medical treatment is unknown at the time it is administered. Patients place their trust in their medical professionals to make decisions on behalf of their health. It is the medical professional’s duty and responsibility to provide care to the best of their ability and ensure their patients are informed throughout their treatment of potential risks.
Both medical negligence and medical malpractice have the potential to cause dangerous outcomes, long-lasting injuries, irreparable damage, and even death. For this reason, it is important that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.
Understanding Medical Negligence
In medical negligence cases, medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, or others, cause unintentional harm. This may be due to a failure to take appropriate action or ignorance of not knowing what to do in that instance.
One example is if a doctor prescribes a medication, not realizing it may interact negatively or harmfully with another medication the patient is currently taking, and the medicine causes harm or even life-threatening side-effects. Other examples can include unintentional injuries that occur during surgery, anesthesia errors, or not providing proper aftercare information following a procedure.
In any of these circumstances, the medical professional does not have any malicious intentions towards the patient, and they are trying to do their job correctly. Nevertheless, they still make some sort of mistake, fail to communicate effectively, or do not follow the correct protocol necessary for safety.
As stated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), liability for medical negligence is determined based on certain aspects of a case. In regard to legal cases involving medical negligence, it must be proven that the medical professional failed in their duty to provide a standard of care. You or your attorney must show that this deviation from the proper standard of care occurred, resulting in injury for the patient.
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More Information About Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is actually a form of medical negligence (but not all medical negligence cases are considered malpractice). Malpractice cases may result when a medical professional understands the potential negative consequences of performing or not performing a specific action but goes through with it anyway.
If corners are cut intentionally to save time, if medication is over-prescribed, or if an unnecessary surgical procedure is performed, the case may be medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice cases can involve:
- Improper treatment or care of an injury or illness
- Misdiagnosis of an injury or illness
- Prescribing or administering the wrong medication
- Failing to inform the patient in regard to potential options of alternative treatments for their medical conditions or procedures
- Failing to inform the patient of all potential risks associated with their treatment or a procedure
Medical malpractice legal cases work to hold medical professionals accountable for their actions that have caused harm. If you are considering filing a medical negligence or malpractice case, it is important to know that in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there is a statute of limitations for such lawsuits. As 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 5524 states, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years of the incident, so you should keep this in mind if it becomes necessary to pursue a lawsuit.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer May Be Able to Help You
A lawyer can help you learn more about the differences between medical malpractice and negligence and how they may pertain to your situation. If a doctor or other medical professional caused an injury during your treatment or during a medical procedure, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim.
An attorney from Berger and Green can help you hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. You may be able to collect financial compensation for the losses you have incurred as a result of the negligence or malpractice. A lawyer can examine your case to help determine if you indeed have the grounds to pursue a case, as well as determine the possible potential of your case.
To learn more about how the legal team of Berger and Green may be able to help you, contact our offices today at (412) 661-1400. We offer a free case evaluation, and when you work with us, it will be on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you pay nothing up-front for our services. Above all, we want to ensure you receive the care and compensation you deserve.