The Difference Between Medical Errors and Medical Negligence

The Difference Between Medical Errors and Medical Negligence

Posted By Maher Law Firm || 5-Jun-2018

Whenever we receive medical treatment, there is a risk that we might experience an adverse effect as a result of it. Those effects are often caused by either a medical error or medical negligence. What is the difference between these two? Not every negative outcome that occurs after receiving medical treatment is caused by negligence. In some cases, these incidents are unavoidable and could occur even under the most diligent healthcare professional’s watch.

Defining Medical Negligence

When a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider does not provide a patient with the accepted standard of medical care, incidents of medical negligence can occur. Examples of this include:

  • If a surgeon were to clear a patient for surgery without his or her consent, or made preventable mistakes during the procedure, this could be considered an act of negligence.
  • If an oncologist were to fail to diagnose a patient in a timely manner, this could jeopardize his or her chances of survival.
  • If a hospital nurse were to dispense inaccurate information or fail to give critical information about a patient to the attending physician, this negligent act could be detrimental to the patient’s well-being.
  • If a primary care physician were to accidentally prescribe the wrong medication or did not consult with a medical specialist to discuss a patient’s condition, this can cause irreparable harm to the patient.

Defining a Medical Error

Medical errors also occur during the course of medical treatment. However, they are not a result of negligence. Generally, these errors are unavoidable and part of the inherent risks associated with a particular treatment or procedure, unlike medical negligence, which is caused by a failure to provide the accepted standard of medical care. For example, if a patient were to develop an infection and the overseeing physician prescribed a common antibiotic used to treat infections and the patient had an allergic reaction, there are some circumstances that could make this a medical error. If the patient had never been exposed to this medication, was unaware of the allergy, and nothing in his or her medical history or records suggest an allergic reaction would occur, this would be fall under the medical error category and likely would not be considered negligent.

However, if the physician was aware that the patient might be allergic to the antibiotic and prescribed it anyway despite there being alternative options, or he or she simply neglected to review the patient’s chart or medical history, this would constitute medical negligence.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Orlando

If you were harmed by the negligent actions of a careless medical professional, it is critical that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible to hold them accountable for their actions. At The Maher Law Firm, our skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys in Orlando have been representing individuals harmed by healthcare providers for over 40 years and will fight diligently on your behalf to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve and need during this difficult time.

For exceptional legal representation, contact us today at (855) 338-0720 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled medical malpractice attorneys.

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