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The difference between medical malpractice and neglect

| Apr 21, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

If a doctor in North Carolina fails to uphold basic standards of care, they may commit medical malpractice or medical negligence. A medical malpractice case requires the plaintiff to prove certain elements, one of which includes neglect. However, medical neglect doesn’t always mean malpractice; the two differ in several ways.

Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional knowingly lowers the standard of care that another professional would follow in the same situation. Even if they never intended to harm the patient, they still caused more health issues that could have been avoided.

A common type of medical malpractice is delayed diagnosis, which means the doctor does not diagnose the condition on time. This could occur from willingly omitting proper diagnostic tests or ignoring less common symptoms of the condition.

Medical malpractice most often occurs during surgery, such as giving a patient an unnecessary procedure, causing them more injury or operating while intoxicated. Medical malpractice does not cover patients being unhappy with a cosmetic procedure or not taking the prescribed medication.

Medical negligence

Medical negligence occurs when the professional mistakenly causes harm to the patient, which occurs from careless error and omission. For example, many symptoms of one condition may overlap with another, causing an unintentional misdiagnosis. This could lead to the doctor to prescribe the wrong medication or wrong treatment unknowingly while the real condition worsens.

Another common medical error is leaving surgical tools inside a patient, which happens by accident. ERs raise the risk of negligence since ER surgeons and staff are often hurried and don’t have access to patient history.

Medical malpractice or negligence requires the plaintiff to prove the same elements, and cases often need expert testimony. An attorney may evaluate a victim’s claim and determine if they have a case. It may be possible for an attorney to negotiate a settlement on their client’s behalf.