Definition of Malpractice: Negligence

Medical malpractice falls under the legal division of tort law [1]. Tort means injury. There are many tort laws, but malpractice is in a unique tort law area called negligence [15]. Negligence says the surgeon acted unreasonably under the circumstances as he or she provided care for the patient. At the same time, the patient was injured, and the action of the surgeon caused the injury. Reasonableness is determined by what a similarly situated physician would do.

The law of negligence is different from intent. Negligence does not suggest the doctor did something intentionally or on purpose. Thus, intent is irrelevant. Negligence in essence says that something bad happened, that the doctor did it, and, based on training, knowledge, and experience, the doctor should have known better.


Healthcare Organization Patient Relationship Effective Shield Medical Malpractice Sentinel Event 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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