Many people think they know what constitutes medical malpractice based on television shows and what they've heard from friends and relatives who may not be qualified to comment. The actual answer differs somewhat from state to state, depending on the jurisdiction in which you reside. In Illinois, the law is very clear. Medical malpractice is said to have occurred when a healthcare professional violated the governing standard of care in the course of treating a patient, resulting in an injury to the patient. Malpractice may be the result of an action that causes an injury or a failure to take appropriate action that would have avoided injury.