What is Medical Negligence in a Hospital?

Doctors and other professionals working in the medical field are highly-esteemed, and for good reason. After all, they save a lot of lives and improve the quality of lives for others. Not only that, they worked long and hard before they reached their status as medical professionals. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re off the hook when something wrong happened to a patient while on their watch. When does an unsatisfactory incident at the hospital considered as a case of hospital medical negligence? And when considered as such, what happens next?

At first, it may sound as if such incidents are very rare, and these events are more of the exceptions rather than the rule. After all, people in general highly respect people who work at hospitals, their endless approach to improving their craft, and the seemingly superhuman efforts they do to ensure their patients get the best treatment possible. But even though they’re very good at what they do (and not everyone can do what they can do), they are by no means infallible. But the question is, how can you identify if a particular medical failure is just sheer coincidence or an act of negligence?

To better understand this, it’s best to take a look first at what hospital medical negligence really means. When using legal terms, medical negligence is defined as the failure to administer proper medical care because of neglect in the part of the medical team. Neglect can be defined using different parameters. It can be brought about by different factors such as sheer carelessness, the failure to do a particular medical procedure (ex.: surgery, consultation) correctly, or the lack of proper evaluation of the patient. When negligence is proven to be committed by the medical facility, it can be held liable for malpractice and other legal issues.

With the word malpractice mentioned, it’s easy to mix up the word negligence with malpractice. But while they share some common similarities, they are not perfectly similar. As such, they should never be used interchangeably. That said, medical negligence can escalate into medical malpractice if the said act of negligence results to putting the patient in a compromised state of health. For example, it’s considered medical malpractice if doing a surgical procedure in the wrong part of the body or the prescription of the wrong drug results to adverse effects. This is especially so if the resulting condition threatens the life and well-being of the patient.

A case of hospital medical negligence can be settled by both parties outside, especially if the patient experienced no negative effects from the error. However, if negligence becomes malpractice, it can lead to a lengthy legal battle. A thorough investigation involving both sides is commenced, in the attempt to uncover facts related to the case. If the hospital is found to be guilty of malpractice, they can face some stiff sanctions. Penalties include the payment of damages to the patient victimized by malpractice, as well as possible sanctions on the medical team responsible and even the hospital itself.