As in any other area of health care, nurses are responsible for the care and safety of each of their patients. Nurses provide medical services, including daily care, medication distribution, and patient monitoring.
What Is Nursing Malpractice?
Nursing malpractice refers to instances where a nurse’s actions cause harm to a patient due to the nurse’s negligence or incompetence. Human errors do occur in the medical environment, and not every accident or injury during medical treatment is malpractice. As with malpractice cases involving doctors, a patient must be able to prove that a nurse caused complications in the patient’s care due to substandard care.
Some ways in which a nurse can fail to provide adequate care to a patient include:
- Medication errors: A nurse can give the wrong drug to a patient or can give an incorrect dosage.
- Failure to monitor the patient: Nurses have a responsibility to notify a doctor when a patient presents symptoms of a serious complication or condition. If a nurse neglects to inform a doctor when a patient needs help, he or she is not providing adequate care.
- Patient falls: When a patient needs assistance with mobility, a nurse is trained to assist that patient properly to get to the bathroom or to other areas of the hospital. In some cases, patient falls can be attributed to a nursing error.
- Infections: Nurses are responsible for maintaining a safe and sterile environment to reduce risk that patients receiving care in the hospital contract infections. Failure to wash hands or clean equipment properly can be a nursing error.
- Injuries by equipment: Nursing error can include situations in which a patient is injured by medical equipment the nursing staff uses. Examples of this type of error include heavy equipment being dropped on a patient, sponges, or other cleaning resources left inside a patient during surgery, or burning a patient.
Who Is Responsible for Nursing Malpractice?
While the nurse made the mistake that caused harm, damages due to a patient could be the responsibility of the hospital or the attending doctor. If the nurse is an employee of the hospital at the time of the offending action, the hospital may be liable for that nurse’s actions. In cases where a doctor directly supervises the nurse, such as in the operating room, the doctor may be liable for nursing malpractice. Liability can vary from case to case, so discuss these issues with a malpractice attorney.
What Can I Do If I’ve Suffered Due to a Nursing Error?
If you have endured pain and suffering due to an injury, encountered additional medical bills, or lost time at work as a result of a nursing error, you might be entitled to compensation through a nursing malpractice suit. An attorney familiar with nursing malpractice cases in Phoenix will be able to help you determine if your case meets the following criteria:
- Were your pain and suffering or other damages a result of a nursing error? For example, if you fell and incurred injuries in the hospital, can it be proved that your nurse did not provide competent assistance in helping you move from one place to another? Or did your nurse administer the wrong medication to you while you stayed in the hospital for care?
- Would another reasonable nurse have provided a higher level of care? It is essential to be able to build a case for negligence or incompetence as a contributing factor to the nursing error. This means establishing the nurse did not follow an acceptable standard of care expected of other professionals.
Call Snyder and Wenner, PC for Help in Phoenix
If you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice due to a nursing error that occurred in a Phoenix medical center or hospital, call us at 602-224-0005 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a lawyer.