According to data from 2020, the NHS in England faces a mounting crisis in the form of outstanding clinical negligence cases.
More specifically, this body faces paying out £4.3 billion in legal fees to settle outstanding claims, with a further 10,000 claims likely to be added every single year.
This number includes many different instances, including medical negligence and malpractice. But what are the differences between these two entities? Let’s find out!
What is Medical Negligence?
It’s fair to say that medical negligence is a relatively broad term, and one that covers a number of different examples or instances.
From examples of misdiagnosis and surgical error to prescription administration errors (where the wrong drug or dosage is prescribed for a patient), medical negligence covers a great number of issues that comprise the majority of clinical negligence claims.
In general terms, however, medical negligence and its various descriptions cover unintentional mistakes that cause a patient direct harm, which may result in a claim and compensation payout.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to instances where a healthcare practitioner failed to adhere to the proper standard or duty of care.
The extent to which actions and treatment varied from the accepted medical standard of care will determine whether a subsequent injury or illness was caused by an intentionally negligent action.
Due to the fact that medical malpractice is often considered to be intentionally reckless, this is a much graver and more serious charge than that of medical negligence.
What Are the Main Differences Between These Two Entities?
This is perhaps the biggest difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice, as while the former covers damaging but unintentional harm arising from treatment or surgery, the latter describes deliberate or avoidable instances or negligence that fall short of professional care standards.
This also affects your potential to make a successful claim for compensation. With a medical negligence claim, for example, you simply need to demonstrate that the mistake had a direct impact on the patient and caused their illness or injury.
However, if a medical mistake is deemed reasonable within the accepted duty of care, you won’t be able to bring a case against the healthcare professional.
This is true even if the error resulted in direct harm to the patient, so it’s important to liaise with legal experts and discuss the finer details of your case to determine whether or not you have a viable claim.