Nursing care is a critical part of the treatment and recovery process for patients in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Nurses are responsible for the overall daily care of a patient and more. Every nurse has a medical duty to provide quality health service that meets or exceeds the minimum standards of care as set forth by the medical community.
When a nurse breaches these standards and fails to offer competent, attentive care, the patient can suffer harm, incur additional medical bills or endure other complications that interfere with the overall healing process. As such, the patient may file a nursing malpractice claim to recover damages.
What may constitute nurse malpractice?
There are multiple ways that nursing malpractice can occur. Below are a few examples:
- Patient injury: A nurse is responsible for ensuring the safety of each patient. When a patient has limited mobility or trouble walking, the nurse provides assistance to keep the patient safe. When a nurse is distracted or negligent, a patient can fall and receive injuries. Another way that patient injury occurs is by medical equipment. The misuse of some equipment, for example, may cause burns. Nurses are liable for injuries when they were preventable by competent care.
- Infections: Maintaining a sterile and safe environment for patient care is also a responsibility that falls under nursing care. Nurses must wash their hands properly, maintain the sterility of equipment used in the treatment process, and prevent the spread of infection from one patient to another. When a nurse is negligent in following infection-prevention protocol and the patient contracts an infection, the patient may pursue a malpractice claim.
- Failure to monitor: Nurses must also monitor patient’s vital signs and overall physical condition. This may include reporting new symptoms, improving or declining health, or adverse reactions to treatment. Malpractice in nursing may occur if there’s a failure to report important changes to the physician.
How do I know if my case involved nursing malpractice?
While any harm received by a patient while in medical care is troubling, not all human error translates to malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, it must be evident that negligence played a role in the error. It must be clear that the patient would have received a higher level of care if another reasonable nurse was on the case. An attorney who specializes in medical malpractice will be able to help you establish whether you can build a viable malpractice case.
Who is responsible for my damages?
In nurse malpractice cases, the hospital that employed the nurse at the time to may be vicariously liable for damages. In cases where the nurse was directly supervised by the attending physician (such as in the case of errors that occur in an operating room where the doctor is responsible for all actions related to the procedure), the physician can instead be responsible for the damages related to the nurse medical malpractice.
It’s important to explore liability with your attorney, as in some cases more than one party may be liable for the malpractice and resultant damages. Your lawyer can explore employment relationships and the circumstances of the medical negligence to determine which parties could be responsible for damages.
Ryan, LLP Helps Injured Cleveland Patients
If you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice from a nursing error, we can help you explore your legal options and file a malpractice claim to recover damages. Call us today at (877) 864-9495 or use our contact form to set up a consultation to discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney.