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What Qualifies as Medical Negligence in Kansas City?

June 17, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Medical negligence and medical malpractice are often used interchangeably to describe instances when a healthcare provider fails to provide the proper standard of care. However, there is a significant difference between the two. Medical malpractice specifically constitutes medical malpractice when a healthcare provider’s failure to perform a standard baseline level of care results in harm to the patient.

Understanding medical malpractice law is crucial for comprehending what qualifies as medical negligence in Kansas City.

Medical Negligence Defined

In medical negligence cases, patients are unintentionally harmed by a healthcare provider’s treatment (or lack thereof), whereas in medical malpractice cases, there is an element of “intent.” A provider knew they should have done something to treat a patient but failed to do so, knowing it might result in harm to the patient.

Medical negligence occurs when a physician, nurse, surgeon, hospital, etc., deviates from the standard of care expected of them by failing to do what a reasonably prudent provider would have done in similar circumstances. For instance, if a surgeon accidentally leaves a sponge inside a patient, they do not purposely cause harm. In contrast, a surgeon who lacks the skills to perform a procedure successfully but does so anyway is considered medical malpractice. Proving negligence is a critical step in filing medical malpractice claims.

Common Forms of Medical Negligence

Cases of medical negligence commonly involve:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Hospital-acquired infections

These forms of negligence can often lead to a medical malpractice case and significant medical expenses for the patient


Any injury to an infant or mother during pregnancy or the delivery process can often be attributed to the actions or inactions of medical professionals. Injuries may result from improper care for the mother, failure to diagnose a condition, failure to initiate a timely C-Section, and delayed or prolonged labor, among others.


If a medical professional fails to correctly diagnose a medical condition that causes harm, they can be held responsible.


Many errors during a surgical procedure can cause harm to a patient, and healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, collectively bear the responsibility to prevent these errors through proper techniques, instruments, and skills.


Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage can lead to serious harm. Such prescription errors can also result in medical malpractice lawsuits.

When Does Medical Negligence Become Medical Malpractice?

Medical negligence amounts to medical malpractice when a patient is injured due to a healthcare provider’s negligent treatment or lack thereof. If you are unhappy with the care you received, it doesn’t mean that medical negligence was committed. For example, you must have suffered unreasonable or unexpected complications, your condition worsened, or you need additional medical treatment, etc. The provider must be the direct cause of harm, and as a result, you suffered financial or other losses.

Medical malpractice laws play a crucial role in determining when medical negligence becomes medical malpractice. These laws provide the legal grounds for holding healthcare providers accountable for negligent treatment.

To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you need to understand the legal procedures and requirements, such as proving the elements of a medical malpractice claim and meeting any special requirements.

Proving Medical Negligence

To prove a claim of medical negligence in a medical malpractice case requires establishing the following four elements:

  • Duty of Care: The healthcare provider owed you a duty of care, which can be proven with medical records that prove you had a provider-patient relationship with the doctor, nurse, or hospital you are suing.
  • Breach of Duty: The healthcare provider violated their duty (committed medical negligence) by failing to provide an acceptable standard of care. Testimony from an expert medical witness, who would be another healthcare provider with similar qualifications, training, and experience, is often required to demonstrate what the acceptable standard of care would have been in your case and how the provider deviated from it.
  • Causation: Your condition or injury was “more likely than not” caused by the medical provider’s negligence.
  • Damages: You suffered losses due to your condition or injury (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.).

Cases involving medical negligence will often heavily rely on expert witness testimony to define the minimum acceptable standard of care.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical negligence, contact the experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys at Goza & Honnold LLP for a free, confidential consultation. Contact us online or call (913) 451-3433.

Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney can significantly help in obtaining all the necessary information to prepare and file your case, leveraging their knowledge, skills, and resources to prove medical negligence.