Differentiating between medical malpractice and negligence in nursing

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

Being a nurse in New York can be a gratifying career, but it requires diligence, attention to detail, and a determination to care for patients. Even nurses who do their due diligence can make mistakes that could fall under medical malpractice or medical neglect, especially if it leads to an injured patient.

What is the difference between medical malpractice and negligence in nursing?

Medical malpractice and negligence are usually determined by evaluating the nurse’s intent or awareness. Medical negligence is when a medical professional engages in an action that unintentionally or accidentally harms their patient. Conversely, malpractice is when a medical professional knows a potential negative consequence exists before making a mistake. With medical malpractice, the error is made because the medical professional did not follow established protocol guidelines.

Examples of medical malpractice and negligence in nursing

Determining whether a situation is medical negligence or malpractice requires scrutinizing the facts. Sometimes, an incident can be classified as medical malpractice and negligence. Factors considered include:

  • What led up to the mistake
  • The nurse’s awareness of consequences before taking action
  • If protocols were followed or ignored
  • The nurse’s desire to offer the best medical treatment

A nurse routinely draws blood from a patient and accidentally damages a blood vessel causing injury. This might qualify as medical negligence.

Conversely, a nurse performs a procedure on a patient without following protocol to save time. This leads to an injury that could be classified as medical malpractice.

What to do if you experience medical neglect or malpractice

Mistakes happen even in the healthcare field. Patients have the right to the best medical treatment, and in the cases of medical malpractice or negligence, they may have the right to seek compensation for the damages. Although no one wants to be a victim of medical malpractice or neglect, understanding what they are can be the first step in identifying it when it happens and taking corrective measures.