“Malpractice” is this context is conduct by a physician that is more serious than simple “negligence.” Medical malpractice is ordinary negligence by a healthcare provider which causes injury. It is no different in theory than negligence by a motorist who causes an accident.
Florida has strict laws which define the standard of care as that level of care, skill and treatment which is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar healthcare providers under similar circumstances. In other words, the standard of care is often described as doing what a reasonably prudent doctor (or nurse, dentist, etc.) would do under the circumstances.
In a typical case, a judge will inform the jury about this definition, and after hearing the evidence of what happened the jury decides what they believe a reasonably prudent similar healthcare provider should have done under the circumstances. This decision-making process by the jury is normally aided by the testimony of expert witnesses from both sides, who explain the medical issues during the trial.
In an emergency room malpractice case, the standard of care may be defined as “reckless disregard” rather than negligence. That harder to prove standard of care for emergency room cases has been added as a section to Florida’s Good Samaritan Statute.
In Florida the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from when the patient (or sometimes a particular family member or guardian) either knew, or should have known with the exercise of reasonable diligence, that the injury has occurred and there is a reasonable possibility that the injury was caused by medical malpractice. This definition comes from a combination of the actual statute itself, and multiple Florida case decisions which describe what is necessary for one to have knowledge of the “incident”, which is the language used in the statute.