Crim. law. A Latin expression, to signify bad or unskilful practice in a physician or other professional person, as a midwife
, whereby the health of the patient is injured.
2. This offence is a misdemeanor (whether it be occasioned by curiosity and experiment or neglect) because, it breaks the trust which the patient has put in
the physician, and tends directly to his destruction
. 1 Lord Raym. 213. See forms of indictment for mala praxis, 3 Chitty Crim. Law, 863; 4 Wentw. 360; Vet. Int. 231; Trem. P. C. 242. Vide also, 2 Russ. on Cr. 288; 1 Chit. Pr. 43; Com. Dig. Physician; Vin. Ab. Physician.
3. There are three kinds of mal practice. 1. Wilful mal practice, which takes place when the physician purposely administers medicines or performs an operation which he knows and expects will result in danger
or death to the individual under his care; as, in the case of criminal abortion.
4. - 2. Negligent mal practice, which comprehends those cases where there is no criminal or dishonest object, but gross negligence
of that attention which the situation of the patient requires: as if a physician should administer medicines while in a state of intoxication
, from which injury would arise to his patient.
5. - 3. Ignorant mal practice, which is the administration of medicines, calculated to do injury, which do harm, and which a well educated and scientific medical man would know were not proper in the case. Besides the public remedy for mal practice, in many cases the party injured
may bring a civil action
. 5 Day's R. 260; 9 Conn. 209. See M. & Rob. 107; 1 Saund. 312, n. 2; l Ld. Raym. 213; 1 Briand, Med. Leg
. 50; 8 Watts, 355; 9 Conn. 209.