Clueless versus Incompetent versus Malpractice versus Crime

I am sure you have heard this many times: what’s wrong with these doctors today? My medications are not working. They chopped off my left leg when the right was the sick one. They left a pair of scissors in me after surgery. They gave me the wrong medications. The list goes on. What is what and how can you tell if a doctor is clueless, or incompetent, or is committing malpractice, or is the act downright criminal?

I am not sure if my definitions are correct in the eye of the law so if you know something I missed or got wrong, please don’t be shy and help me out. Feel free to post what you know so I can update my knowledge.


Clueless is defined as “not having knowledge of something.” So in case of doctors, a clueless doctors means no harm, only does not know what he/she is doing. Mind you in some fields being clueless can cost lives, such as medicine, so while ignorance may be bliss in many fields of work, medicine is not one of them.


Incompetent means that although the person may know what needs to be done, he/she does not have the skills to do it.  The person is not legally qualified and so cannot take on the particular duty. For example a doctor of the foot, a podiatrist, may not have the skills to operate on the patient’s heart. The podiatrist may know what needs to be done but is not qualified to actually perform the surgery and is he/she attempts it anyway, that is incompetence. Incompetent people are probably the type we most often bump into in our every day lives. They know they are not qualified but are ashamed to admit it and act as though they were. I think most people’s managers fall into this category somewhere…


Malpractice is pretty much a crime but need not end in prison sentence. Malpractice is officially defined in the dictionary as “a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one (as a physician) rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage; an injurious, negligent, or improper practice.” Thus malpractice is close to crime that cannot be considered deliberate and hence is a mixture of clueless and incompetent to a deeper degree.


Negligence is more along the side of criminal, particularly if it is with intent. The official dictionary definition of negligence is “failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances” which is similar to malpractice but requires expert witnesses and is likely a jury court hearing. I suppose in the case of “negligence with intent” the doctor may lose his/her license and may even spend time in jail, dependent upon how much damage was the consequence of negligence.

The reason why I am bringing this up here is because I would like to find out if a doctor and an entire medical institution disregards a medicine that the patient has on her chart that she is allergic to it and yet the doctors force down large doses of that drug in to her in spite of the allergy warning, is that criminal negligence with intent to harm?

Please give me your thoughts by a comment!

About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on the hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs successfully world wide, all ages and both genders, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, treatment and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section with for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, and is currently studying Functional Medicine. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently enamored by resistance training and weight lifting, which she does three times a week with a private trainer. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day) Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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One Response to Clueless versus Incompetent versus Malpractice versus Crime

  1. Pingback: Clueless versus Incompetent versus Malpractice versus Crime | cluelessdoctors

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