Medical professionals are usually trained to provide excellent care to patients, especially considering the fact that human lives are directly correlated to the way they act while on duty. However, there are instances when a nurse may neglect to give a patient proper medical care. If an individual feels he or she may be part of malpractice or negligence case, he must take the following four factors into consideration before filing a lawsuit.
Duty is related to the care and services a medical professional should provide to a patient. When it comes to nursing, this duty relates to closely following the doctor’s orders and the standards of care. Standards of practice in nursing are general guidelines that provide a foundation as to what a nurse should or should not do. Medical negligence happens when a nurse deviates from these guidelines may result in various legal implications depending on the seriousness of the case.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty happens when the patient does not receive proper care due to a negligently responsible party. In a standard negligence case, a breach of duty occurs when a nurse fails to act with the same responsible care an ordinary individual would use in a similar context. This constitutes in failure to satisfy ethical, moral and legal obligations, especially when one has a right to demand such satisfaction. For example, this may happen when a nurse does not offer a clean, safe environment to a patient and omits to arrange his bed properly during treatment or after surgery.
When a breach of duty occurs, a patient may be physically or emotionally injured or damaged. If a patient has not been injured, the case is not considered a breach of duty, but poor patient care.
To file a nursing negligence lawsuit, cause and effect must be proven. The patient must conclusively show evidence that his injury was directly related to an action of the nurse.
There are several ways a nurse can harm a patient:
Administering the incorrect medication to a patient;
Administering the wrong dosage to a patient;
Failure to notify a doctor when the patient needs his intervention;
Depending on the circumstance of a nursing medical malpractice case, a doctor or hospital may be liable for the victim’s compensation. Here are seven signs that can help you recognize if you or a family member have been victims of negligence.
1. Did Not Use Medical Equipment Properly
One of the primary responsibilities of a nurse is to adequately understand safety conditions, factors, and constraints of all the medical equipment he or she uses. A nurse is not at liberty to modify any equipment and must follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. If a nurse did alter medical equipment and therefore caused harm or injury to a patient, he or she did not respect standards of care and should be held responsible.
2. Violating the Standards of Care
When treating a patient, a nurse is required to follow standards of practice that ensure proper patient care. These rules are set in place to protect patients and provide adequate conditions for their physical and emotional safety. If a nurse fails to provide suitable conditions and a safe environment for a patient who has been injured or harmed as a result of her actions, the nurse has acted in a negligent manner. For example, this might happen when a patient feels sick during post-operative care and the nurse refuses to administer prescribed medication to alleviate his pain.
3. Failure to Document
The nurse is obliged to document changes in a patient’s health condition to ensure proper care. If this is not done, if may lead to injury or even death. From a legal standpoint, if an event has not been documented, it means it never happened.
Furthermore, if a nurse fails to note every action related to a patient, this may result in a procedure being done twice. For example, if a nurse administers medication to a patient and fails to document it, another nurse might do the same. This could lead to severe health complications.
4. Performing Duties While Under the Influence
It is a nurse’s responsibility to be in her best state while at work and be able to treat patients as needed. If a nurse is under the influence of any medications, drugs, or alcohol, this will impair his or her judgment. In such a case, a patient is at risk of severe injury, might be mistreated or administered wrong medication.
The most common substances healthcare professionals abuse are cocaine, alcohol, inhalants, methamphetamines, sleeping pills, antidepressants, morphine, Percodan, Vicodin, codeine and whatever drug that is available at work. Pay attention to excessive coffee usage, mints and gum chewing that may be used to mask the addiction or the smell.
5. Did Not Administer Medicine Properly
If a nurse does not administer medicine correctly, this could lead to death or severe health damage. A nurse should provide medication to a patient under the supervision of a doctor. If a nurse injects a medication into a muscle as opposed to a vein, this could lead to injury. Furthermore, a nurse must be sure to give the correct medicine to every patient. If a nurse administers medication to the wrong patient, this could lead to medical complications and even death.
6. Failure to Communicate
An important responsibility of a nurse it to communicate with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Some instances where a nurse may not meet adequate communication standards include:
Failure to provide a doctor with all patient data;
Failure in giving a patient all the necessary discharge information;
Not providing all the valuable information about a patient to a nurse who is starting a new shift;
7. Failure to Evaluate and Monitor a Patient
In most circumstances, it is the nurse’s judgment that determines how much a patient should be evaluated and monitored. However, there are serious instances of post-operative care when nurses have to comply with certain standards that specify how often a patient should be checked on. A nurse has to watch patients closely, especially when they mention that their pain has been increasing. Furthermore, a nurse has to closely pay attention to a patient that shows adverse symptoms after taking medication.
If feel that you have been involved in a nursing negligence case, please contact Vastola. The Florida statute of limitations regarding medical negligence and malpractice states that an individual can file a lawsuit for a two-year period after the event has happened. The legal experts at Vastola Law Firm can guide persons who were part of a nursing negligence case and help them seek the compensation they deserve.