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Is there a difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice?

Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide a reasonable standard of care. Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured as a result of negligence.

In other words, a physician could be negligent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can sue. For instance, if you were accidentally prescribed the wrong type of medication to treat an ailment, this would be considered medical negligence. But if you suffered no adverse side effects or injury as a result, you wouldn’t be able to file a medical malpractice claim.

Types of Medical Negligence

A misdiagnosis can’t always be prevented, but if a doctor overlooks obvious symptoms or fails to run appropriate tests, he or she may be negligent.

While not every health problem leads to severe consequences if not correctly diagnosed, some specific health problems generally lead to significant complications if a misdiagnosis or failure to act occurs and patients who suffer these problems should take special note:

Medication errors, such as being prescribed the wrong drug or being given the wrong dosage, are another result of medical negligence.

In some cases, there can be a combination of negligent actions that would necessitate a major medical malpractice claim filing. If the wrong diagnosis is given, a patient could end up receiving medication that is not only unnecessary but causes further complications.

Surgical mistakes can result from operating on the wrong person or wrong part of the body, or leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient.  

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim

A claim can only be filed if certain elements are established. One of the first is showing that the healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient.

Whether it is a nurse, doctor, dentist, anesthesiologist or any other type of medical professional, there are expectations pertaining to patient care, such as providing a standard level of care. This is based on what other reasonable professionals in the same set of circumstances would do.

The second element is showing a breach in the duty of care. This is where medical negligence must be proven:

If the medical professional left an object in the patient’s body, for instance, it would be a clear violation of the standard of care, as other reasonable professionals would be expected to ensure all objects are removed.

The final element is proving that as a result of medical negligence, the patient suffered injuries and damages. Minor injuries or those that result in a quick recovery with no damages may not truly warrant a claim, but more serious injuries with significant damages may be grounds to pursue a claim.

These cases can be difficult to prove because an existing health problem could be blamed as the cause of some injuries or illnesses. The key will be connecting the negligent actions to the injuries. This may require testimony from a medical expert.

Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Attorneys Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt welcome you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have about an injury, negligence, or a potential claim.

Why Should I Trust Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt to Handle My Medical Malpractice Claim?

First, Mellino Robenalt does not advertise. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our cases. Others find us online.

Second, Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt are respected throughout northeast Ohio for their ability to dig below the surface and make sure no fact is overlooked. In fact, Chris has been involved in several landmark cases, including Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai Medical Center (1994) and Watkins_v._Cleveland_Clinic_Foundation (1998). In the latter, he and his previous partner were awarded the largest verdict in the state that year.

Third, medical malpractice claims are time consuming and labor intensive, so we’re selective about the cases we accept. Whereas some firms take every case that walks in the door and settle those cases for the first amount the defendant offers, so they can fund their next commercial, we only pursue compensation for patients who’ve suffered a severe injury or disability. By limiting the number of cases we accept, we’re able to give each claim the attention it deserves.

Last but not least, since 2010, Mellino Robenalt is the only medical malpractice law firm in Cleveland to be accepted into Primerus, which screens potential members by speaking to judges, other lawyers, bar associations, clients, and insurance carriers about a firm’s integrity, work product, fee structure, education, civility, and community service.

If you have questions about medical malpractice, or whether you still have time to file a claim in Ohio, attorneys Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt invite you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.

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Mellino Robenalt, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio, represents clients in personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits throughout Northeast Ohio. We represent clients in cities that include Independence, Lakewood, Akron, Westlake, Lorain, Mentor, Euclid, Medina, Middleburg Heights, Parma, North Olmsted and throughout Cuyahoga County, Summit County, Lake County, Lorain County, Medina County and Portage County.

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