Medical Negligence vs. Malpractice

Studies from Johns Hopkins researchers show that medical errors lead to as many as 250,000 fatalities each year across this country. Many others sustained injuries or illnesses as a result of medical mistakes.

Any time a person sustains an injury or illness caused by the negligence of a medical professional, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. Here, we want to examine whether or not there is a difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence in Oregon. We also want to discuss how individuals can start the claims process if they are harmed due to a medical error.

negligence vs malpractice

Understanding Medical Negligence and Malpractice

The term “medical malpractice” refers to the type of lawsuit an individual will file if they sustain an injury or illness caused by the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional. When it comes to understanding the difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice, we need to clarify that medical negligence leads to medical malpractice claims. These are not necessarily two separate things.

There are a variety of ways that individuals can be harmed as a result of medical negligence in the state of Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice claims that arise include instances where there was:

  • A failure to diagnose
  • A misdiagnosis
  • The wrong medication prescribed
  • The wrong dosage of a medication given
  • No patient medical history taken
  • No testing ordered or followed up on a surgical or anesthesia error
  • No following up with a patient after a procedure

This is certainly not a complete list of the types of medical errors that can occur and cause significant patient harm. If you think that you are a loved one has sustained an injury or illness caused by the actions of a medical professional, reach out to an attorney immediately.

Proving Medical Malpractice – 4 Elements

In order for a medical malpractice claim to be successful, there are four separate elements that an attorney must prove to the insurance carrier or to a medical malpractice lawsuit jury:

  1. Duty. The first step is showing that there was a duty of care established between the person who sustained the injury or illness and the medical professional. Typically, we hear this referred to as the doctor-patient relationship. Once this type of relationship is established, a medical professional must treat the patient at an acceptable standard of care.
  2. Breach. After establishing the doctor-patient relationship, it must be shown that the medical professional somehow deviated from the standard of care. This would be considered a breach of duty of care. In medical malpractice, the medical standard of care is the golden standard, and this is evaluated by examining the type and level of care that a reasonably competent and similarly trained medical professional in the same medical community would have responded under the circumstances that caused the injury.
  3. Causation. After establishing that the standard of care was not adequate, it will need to be shown that the breach of duty by the medical professional is what actually caused the person’s injury or illness.
  4. Damages. Lastly, it will need to be shown to the insurance carrier or jury that the patient suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the medical provider’s negligence. This can include medical bills, lost income if a person cannot work, pain and suffering damages, and more.

Call us today to speak with a Portland medical malpractice attorney.