What is Medical Negligence?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2020
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Medical negligence is an alternative term for medical malpractice. These terms refer to medical care that is tarnished by a negligent act or omission by a medical professional or facility which results in injury. When instances of medical malpractice arise, the injured party is often able to take legal action. Such cases are commonly considered to be an area of personal injury law.

In many jurisdictions, people are legally entitled to receive a certain standard of medical care. In such cases, negligence generally arises when medical professionals do not adhere to those standards. This can occur as a result of irresponsible or erroneous actions or as a result of actions that should have been taken but were not.

Inadequate skill, care, or speed can be cause for medical negligence claims. Any person, including doctors, nurses, or specialists, who assumes any part of the responsibility for a patient's medical care can be held liable for medical negligence. Those professionals who provide psychological care are also responsible for the well-being of patients and could be charged with malpractice. Medical facilities play a role in patient care and they too can be charged.


When issues of medical negligence arise, the actions of the accused medical professional are often weighed against the levels of competency and professionalism of his peers in the same or similar circumstances. This means that a brain surgeon will be held to the standard of other brain surgeons. It also means that if a general practitioner chooses to perform procedures normally performed by a specialist, he will be judged by the standards of the specialty in which he tried to act.

Medical negligence is not a tool to be used by those who are dissatisfied with the results of medical care. It cannot generally be used because a medical professional failed to cure a condition. A person claiming medical negligence must suffer some harm. That negative experience must be harm that she would not have experienced if a medical professional or facility had not acted negligently.

In most jurisdictions, medical malpractice is a tort. Cases regarding these issues are often heard in court and may include a jury. Such claims do not, however, result in criminal prosecution. Parties who are found guilty may be subjected to a variety of professional consequences, such as suspension from practice or the revoking of professional licenses. They are also likely to be responsible for the financial compensation of victims.


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Post 4

My sister has always had an issue with constipation and the past couple of years it has gotten worse! She has had several dis-impactments, but the last one was the second week of December 2012 and it is now February 2014. She has yet to have a bowel movement and the doctors keep giving her the run around, saying there is no anesthesiologist on site, or she isn't following directions, etc.

She is in so much pain at this point, she cannot sit for more than a couple of minutes. This is hindering her completion of college, she is raising a son on her own and looks as though she is 10 months pregnant! She has trouble even sitting in

a car to get to a hospital or doctor's office when all they do is send her home after telling her there is nothing they can do for her.

She can feel herself dying. She is scared and in an enormous amount of pain all the time. I am baffled that anyone would be treated this way! People in prison get better medical attention than she has. Is it because she has state insurance? Does she have to die before someone helps her, Really? I am going to lose my little sister before she sees 30 years old!

Post 3

I agree with you wholeheartedly. During 2008-2010, I was in hospital six times with pneumonia. During this time span, I was told I had a hernia, and that was why I kept getting pneumonia. When I sleep is when the reflux is not my friend. Hence, I aspirate into my lungs. Then comes pneumonia.

Long story short: I was sent to a surgeon, who found the hernia. I was then sent from one doctor to another. In 2009 I thought I was having a heart attack, but turns out it was my gallbladder. My surgeon, who was doing tests, etc., refused to take out my gallbladder until all the tests were in on the hernia. The doctor who had done

the tests was hospitalized. The test would not be available for six to eight weeks.

In the meantime, I continued with the unbearable chest pain. The E.R got to know me on a first name basis, and it seemed they would have my pain shots waiting. I was in the E.R. four out of seven nights a week for two weeks. Finally I found an E.R. doctor who admitted me and I had emergency surgery to remove the gallbladder. I still do not have the reports from the many tests I had, nor has the previous surgeon made any attempt to provide test results.

The dangers of the hernia are very serious. One can choke to death swallowing a small pill. I get choked very easily. I now sleep at a 30-degree angle to keep from aspirating. What is wrong with doctors? I've been told not to swallow more than one pill at a time, and I take three a day. I've also been told to be careful what I eat! This from the radiologist who did the swallow test. The person who did tests to see how narrow my throat is, told me I could choke to death by swallowing something simple as a bite of fruit.

My best advice is just keep going to the E.R., and someone will help sooner or later. Not real help, but we can't make doctors do surgery.

Post 1

I have been searching for an attorney to take on a medical negligence case.

I entered the er complaining of pain and I have been told I had a hernia then sent to a surgery who told me my gallbladder had to come out and that I did not have a hernia.

I went through all of this to find out that I had a bad bladder and urinary tract infection that could have been fix the day I walked into the er. These laws are crazy. I have been told my attorney that I do have a case but they want touch it because you have to be dead or almost have died for someone to consider you have a good case to fight. Wow.

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