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Malpractice Definition

Medical malpractice is defined as the negligent, improper or illegal treatment of a patient by a healthcare professional, including primary care physicians, dentists, surgeons and nurses. According to Legal Dictionary, “The failure to meet a standard of care or standard of conduct that is recognized by a profession reaches the level of malpractice when a client or patient is injured or damaged because of error.”

Malpractice vs. Negligence

Malpractice and negligence are frequently used interchangeably to describe the same thing. It is worth noting, however, that malpractice is a type of negligence. In most cases, negligence applies to injury or harm caused by a physician’s carelessness, whereas malpractice applies to injury or harm caused by a physician’s disregard for industry standards of conduct.

Some examples of medical malpractice and negligence include:

  • The misdiagnosis of a serious medical condition
  • A physician prescribing the wrong medication
  • A physician prescribing the wrong dosage of a medication
  • Improper use of medical equipment
  • Anesthesia mistakes that cause permanent injury or brain damage
  • A surgeon leaving surgical instruments inside the body after surgery
  • The failure of a doctor or nurse to administer quality post-operative care

Avoiding Malpractice and Negligence Claims

Risk management can help those working in the healthcare field avoid malpractice and negligence claims. Effective healthcare risk management includes the following steps:

  1. Accurate and up-to-date documentation
  2. Employee education
  3. Departmental coordination
  4. Prevention
  5. Correction
  6. A thorough understanding of handling patient complaints
  7. A deep understanding of how to report an incident that could lead to a malpractice or negligence lawsuit

The above information is provided by Kool Smiles, a national network of dental care providers who focus on the dental treatment of children. Along with quality dental care, Kool Smiles is committed to delivering detailed and accurate dental and healthcare information to the public and to the communities we are so honored to serve.

To learn more about Kool Smiles and our commitment to malpractice prevention, contact Kool Smiles today!

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Sources:
Legal Dictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/malpractice
Investopedia: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/072315/importance-healthcare-risk-management.asp