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What Is the Difference Between Medical Negligence & Medical Malpractice? December 13, 2018

Ashland City Center, Ashland
What Is the Difference Between Medical Negligence & Medical Malpractice?, Ashland, Kentucky

Doctors and other medical professionals want to see their patients well and happy. Unfortunately, incidents of medical negligence occur due to human error. Medical malpractice cases can arise from doctors’ intentional acts, and the legal distinction between the two concepts is explained below.

Distinguishing Between Medical Negligence & Medical Malpractice

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical professionals owe a duty to provide their patients reasonable care under the circumstances, and when they make mistakes that cause harm to patients, the law considers it medical negligence. The doctor or other medical professional does not know they have committed an error, and that the error might be harmful.

How Medical Negligence Differs From Medical Malpractice

medical negligenceMedical malpractice differs from medical negligence in that malpractice contains an element of intent. The doctor or medical professional does not intend to harm their patient. However, when they act or fail to act intentionally, knowing that their decision might cause harm, and harm does occur, they have committed medical malpractice.

Examples of Medical Negligence & Medical Malpractice

A nurse gives a patient the correct dosage of medication, but forgets to record it on the patient’s chart. Later, another nurse checks the patient’s chart, and give the patient another dose, unaware that the dose had been given, and the patient becomes violently ill. The nurses may have committed medical negligence. 

An obese adult comes to an emergency clinic complaining of chest pains and having trouble breathing. The physician on duty decides not to order an electrocardiogram (EKG) even though the equipment is there. If the patient suffers a heart attack, the physician may be liable for medical malpractice for the decision not to order the EKG.   


If you think you might have experienced medical negligence or malpractice, it’s wise to consult a personal injury attorney. In Kentucky, injured individuals take their questions to the personal injury attorneys at Williams, Hall & Latherow, LLP. This Ashland-based law firm has a track record of representing clients successfully in their claims and lawsuits since 2000. Whether you have a minor or catastrophic injury, you can depend on the strong advocacy you need and the compassionate, personal attention you deserve. Request an initial consultation today. Fill out the contact form on their website or call (606) 329-1919 for your confidential appointment.

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