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Miami Injury Lawyer > Blog > Medical Malpractice > Negligence Is Not Medical Malpractice

Negligence Is Not Medical Malpractice

There is a distinct difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence in Florida. Florida statute 766.102 states that medical negligence can be proven by showing “by the greater weight of evidence that the alleged actions of the health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider,” and that the standard of care is the “level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” Florida statute 768.81 states that a negligence action is one that arises from “a theory of negligence, strict liability, products liability, professional malpractice…, or breach of warranty and like theories.”

Recent Opinion from Florida Court of Appeal

A Florida court recently issued an opinion concerning this difference. The 1st District Court of Appeal reached a decision in a case involving disclosure of a patient’s diagnosis by an employee of the clinic. The diagnosis occurred in 2006, when a physician at Baptist Primary Care Inc., located in Duval County, diagnosed a woman known as Jane Doe with HIV. She subsequently began treatment for the illness, but she kept the diagnosis private. In 2007, she provided insurance information to Baptist Primary Care when she contacted the clinic for a referral. An employee of the clinic then disclosed to the employee’s boyfriend that the patient had tested positive for HIV. The employee’s boyfriend worked for the same employer as the patient’s husband. The company then asked the patient’s husband to remove his HIV-positive wife from the company health insurance policy that he carried. He was fired after he refused to remove her from the plan.

The lawsuit filed by Jane Doe in Duval County alleged that the clinic violated her privacy because an employee disclosed her diagnosis information. It also alleged negligence by Baptist Primary Care in the supervision and training of its employees. The circuit judge in Duval County dismissed the case. A three-judge panel sitting for the 1st District Court of Appeal found that the circuit court ruling was incorrect. The panel found that the negligence action filed by Jane Doe had been incorrectly treated as a medical malpractice claim. The circuit court judge ruled that the patient failed to meet the statute of limitations requirement. It also found that she failed to meet a requirement for pre-suit notice under Florida medical malpractice law. The Court of Appeal found that this ruling was incorrect because the claim filed was not a medical malpractice claim. The opinion stated that the wrongful disclosure did not come from treatment, care, or a medical diagnosis of the patient. Instead, the disclosure came from simple negligence.

Our Lawyers Can Help You

If you or a loved one has suffered from any type of injury while receiving medical care or treatment, you may be entitled to compensation. Privacy concerns differ in each case, and ultimately may be a very small issue or may not be an issue at all in your specific case. Every situation is unique, so it is critically important to speak with an experienced team of negligence lawyers as soon as possible. The lawyers at Pita Weber Del Prado are available to advise you of your rights in your individual situation. Call Pita Weber Del Prado in Miami today at 305-670-2889 or send us a message online for a free consultation.

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