Nursing negligence vs. medical malpractice

Many expecting mothers and their families carefully choose their OB/GYN, often long before the due date is even put down on the calendar. Patients will look at a physician's reviews, reputation in the community and any past personal experiences with the doctor before making any final decisions. What some patients may not realize is that nursing care and delivery room staff are often just as important as the doctor when it comes to delivering a baby safely.

Both nursing negligence and medical malpractice can be cause for a civil lawsuit in Texas. While the two concepts aren't identical, both involve members of a profession who have deviated from the proper standards of patient care for their field. In a medical malpractice case, a licensed professional, such as an OB/GYN, surgeon or primary care doctor, fails to adhere to the accepted practices of his or her profession. For instance, an OB/GYN who orders a C-section because he or she is in a hurry, rather than for legitimate medical reasons, may be committing malpractice.

Hospital negligence, which includes nursing negligence, can be just as threatening to a patient's well-being. Negligence is a bit more of a general term than malpractice and generally refers to behavior on the part of a nurse, orderly or other hospital staff member that is deficient in care. Negligence is also defined as "carelessness" or behavior that differs from what a "reasonable person" would likely do under the same set of circumstances. Examples of nursing negligence include failure to give a proper dosage of a medication or failure to treat an infection; it also could include not monitoring patients closely enough or even rushing through paperwork and making harmful errors in the process.

One of the main differences between nursing negligence and medical malpractice is the fact that non-medical personnel can be negligent, but only a professional can be accused of malpractice. For instance, a janitorial service that spills a slippery substance on a hospital floor and fails to clean it up could be accused of negligence if a patient falls and gets hurt as a result. A hospital volunteer, CNA, receptionist or other non-professional, however, cannot be accused of malpractice. For more information on the differences between malpractice and negligence, it can be highly informative to speak with a malpractice attorney.

Categories: Nursing Negligence