Patient Safety and Care In The Hands Of Nurses
The New York State Education Department reports that, as of January 2017, there are a total of 64,939 licensed practicing nurses in the State of New York. So many of us and our loved ones often trust these professionals to handle our medical needs, but there is no doubt that mistakes can still happen.
Specifically, nursing malpractice or negligence refers to a nurse failing to adequately complete his or her tasks, ultimately resulting in harm to the patient. Failing to properly monitor vital signs or administering the wrong medication can be life-altering errors, and sometimes even fatal.
If you or someone you know has suffered due to nursing negligence, we at The Oshman Firm offer our deepest sympathies. We cannot imagine the pain and suffering you or your loved one has had to endure, but we want to help you move forward. Contact the attorneys at The Oshman Firm today by calling (800) 400-8182 to receive a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Let us be your advocates.
Common Examples of Malpractice in Nursing
In the medical field, almost any position can be held responsible for malpractice, including doctors, nurses, EMTs and other healthcare professionals. Particularly, negligence in nursing can concern multiple factors. The following are frequent examples:
Failing to Properly Monitor
More times than not, it is the nurse’s duty to monitor the patient, keep track of his or her condition and inform the attending physician of all changes. These changes are important, as they can determine the type of medication to give a patient as well as the appropriate dosage.
If a nurse fails to properly assess a patient’s condition, which directly results in further harm or injury, that nurse should be tried for medical malpractice. Instances where this can occur include:
- Missing a change in vital signs
- Not seeking the assistance of a doctor
- Failure to respond to a patient
Errors in Medication
Nurses are habitually tasked with administering various medications to patients. If a patient receives the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of the medication, the administering nurse could be held responsible for the consequences.
Another factor that comes into play when administering meds are allergies. It is typically the nurse’s responsibility to verify any allergies the patient may have, which could ultimately cause an allergic reaction when mixed with the prescribed drug.
Routine Procedure Errors
Nurses are expected and required to perform a variety of routine procedures, such as:
- Starting an IV
- Drawing Blood
- Taking a patient’s blood pressure
- Putting in catheters
Though these procedures are routine, it’s still imperative for a nurse to be aware of his or her actions, and act with the utmost care. If an error is made or a patient is harmed in the process, the nurse could be held responsible.
One of a nurse’s many responsibilities is to record accurate and precise documentation of the patient’s condition (i.e. vitals, medication, dosage, reactions, etc.). When done improperly, the patient can suffer severe consequences with the most extreme being death.
Mistakes a nurse can make when documenting a patient’s condition include:
- Inaccurately recording conditions
- Using incorrect verbiage or abbreviations
- Failing to update changes in progress
Negligence in nursing can also refer to not feeding a patient as well as failing to ensure that all medical equipment is in proper working condition. When a nurse makes an error in this area or fails to provide the patient with the appropriate amount of care, that nurse can be liable for malpractice.
Determining Who Is Responsible for Nursing Malpractice
If nursing malpractice does occur, the first step is determining who is responsible for the malpractice or negligence. Depending on the case and the specific circumstances of the negligence, the hospital could be legally at fault and financially liable. Factors to consider are whether the nurse is employed by the hospital, the nurse was doing his or her required task when the patient suffered pain or harm, and if a doctor was overseeing the nurse’s work.
Physicians and Doctors
There are instances when the attending physician can also be held responsible for the malpractice. Specifically, if the doctor is present when the error is made, or if he or she has an opportunity to fix it and fails to do so, the nurse and/or hospital may be free from liability.
Home Healthcare Nurses
However, when working with a home healthcare nurse, the rules can again change. In the event of malpractice or nurse negligence with in-home nurses, the nurse or the agency he or she works for can be held responsible.
The Next Step After Nursing Malpractice
Because many parties are usually involved in nurse negligence claims (i.e. the doctor, nurse, hospital, etc.), speaking with an attorney is highly recommended. A professional in the legal field can help you determine who is at fault and the best course of action to take to move forward with your claim and ultimately, your life.
Getting Help After Nursing Malpractice – Speak To A Medical Malpractice Attorney
While it’s expected for doctors, nurses, EMTs and health care professionals to provide only the best of care, mistakes and errors in judgment can happen. Unfortunately, when they do, the results can be tragic. In any event, the guilty party should be held responsible.
Have you or a loved one recently suffered because of nursing malpractice? If so, we at The Oshman Firm want to help you understand your rights and move on with your life. During this difficult time, you can have the time you need to focus on healing or grieving, and leave the legal work to us. From making phone calls to collecting medical records, we will handle all aspects of your case.
Contact us today by calling (800) 400-8182. We offer a 100% free, confidential, no obligation consultation to assess your case and help you determine how to move forward. We work on contingency, which means unless we’ve secured a settlement, you owe us nothing. Let us be your advocates.