Nurses are often the ones monitoring you while you are in the hospital, or assessing your condition before you are seen by a doctor. These medical professionals are held to certain standards of care. If they fail to monitor you properly, resulting in injury, you may have a case for malpractice. Specific examples include failure to notice a change in vital signs, failure to notify a doctor when needed, or failure to take appropriate action when a patient is in distress.
Errors in procedures
Nurses perform many routine procedures, such as starting IVs, putting in catheters and drawing blood. Nurses are held to a standard of care when performing these procedures. They must act as a reasonable nurse in similar circumstances would act. If an error is made, and you are injured, a medical expert will be consulted to determine whether the nurse violated the standard of care.
Nurses are often the ones administering medications to patients. Injury can result if the wrong medication is given, if the dosage is wrong, or if a patient is given a medication despite a known or documented allergy. Even if a doctor orders a nurse to administer medication, the nurse is usually responsible for checking for allergies. On the other hand, if a doctor orders a particular dosage and the nurse doesn't follow the order, the nurse could be held liable.
Mistakes in documentation
Accurate documentation of a patient's condition, symptoms and treatment are essential to proper care. Nurses are responsible for documenting the care that they provide. Examples of malpractice arising from improper documentation include failure to put something in the record, recording information too late, or using the wrong abbreviations.
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If you think nursing malpractice has happened to you, it can be helpful to sit down with a medical malpractice attorney who can review your unique situation. We recommend attorneys who have significant experience in medical malpractice, as well as a track record of success in these cases. Contact us if you'd like a referral.