We all do our best to stay in good health: we eat right, we exercise, and we go for regular checkups to ensure that nothing has gone awry. Sometimes, we will need to have extra care given to us, either as a result of our own actions, or for events and circumstances out of our control. In those instances, we expect our primary care physician, nurses, and hospital staff as a whole to work diligently to guarantee our health and that we come through any procedure, operation, or additional care without any harm or pain.
Nurses, like doctors, can be responsible for a patient’s damaged health if they did not perform their tasks and duties in a way that a competent nurse would have. There are three main ways in which nursing malpractice and negligence can occur:
The wrong medication was administered, or no medication was administered at all. Say your doctor ordered that you must stay in the hospital overnight and a certain medication be administered every 6 hours to help stabilize your condition. If the nurse failed to administer your medication when required, he/she could be held liable. Another example would be administering the wrong medication; this can happen if they give you a different amount than was prescribed – and it can happen for any number of reasons, usually misreading the numbers, or going off of memory and not double checking.
Injury to the patient via medical equipment. If a nurse went to take blood, or give a shot, and happened to trip and prod the patient with the needle, this would constitute injuring the patient with medical equipment. It’s a simple enough mistake that could cause greater damage. Additionally, if a nurse tripped and fell into medical equipment knocking it into a patient and giving them a concussion, contusion, or laceration, they would be held liable for that injury.
Not reporting necessary medical attention or action. If a patient is under a nurse’s care and she does not take the necessary time and steps to ensure their status, stability, and/or health, conditions can worsen nearly immediately. Additionally, if they do not perform the correct response if a patient’s condition spirals out of control, they can be responsible for that deterioration.
The attending doctor, or the hospital. If the doctor is an employee of the hospital and overseeing the patient and the nurse’s actions, he will likely be held liable. If the doctor was not on duty, an outside physician from the hospital, and did not have control over the nurse, the hospital may be pursued for damages.
When we go to the hospital, or are forced to stay overnight or longer, we expect the hospital staff to treat our maladies and help us walk out the door in better health than when we walked in. When the negligence of the nursing staff causes more pain and suffering, you should not have to bear the brunt of that burden. Contact a lawyer today if you believe that you were the victim of nursing malpractice so we can go over your case and plan next steps.