Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Nurse Due to Malpractice?
While nurses are typically viewed as the individuals that come to our rescue in hospitals, catering to patients' every need when they await a doctor's expertise, recent developments on social media platforms are changing that perspective. Many nurses have taken to the internet to make videos about how laughable they believe some patients are when they report their symptoms, or how frequently they simply do not believe patients' description of their medical conditions. What are patients to do when they seek help and are not truly heard when asking for assistance?
Such behavior of nurses, both online and in the treatment room, has led to a heightened need for patient awareness of nurse's potential to commit medical malpractice. Yes, contrary to what many believe, not just doctors, but any type of health care professional can be held liable for malpractice. Essentially, all this term means is negligence. It can manifest in many ways, many of which provide a strong foundation for a lawsuit.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Malpractice, regardless of the type of medical professional committing it, is when a health care professional fails to competently fulfill their job duties to the point that it results in harm to the patient. This can take form in the possible distribution of incorrect medication, failure to notify a superior doctor of patient condition, or neglect of performing certain medical tests.
It can be difficult to pinpoint who is liable for such events, as a patient may accidentally place the blame on the doctor when really the nurse was responsible, or vice versa. Regardless, if a lawsuit is filed, the individual responsible will be legally required to compensate for the patient's harm.
Medical malpractice by nurses specifically can be identified if it can be proven that a competent nurse in the same position would have conducted themselves in the same way as the nurse being sued.
How to Identify Malpractice
Some of the most common circumstances of nurse malpractice are the following:
- Neglect of patient care: This can manifest in the failure to consistently monitor patients; administering the wrong type or dosage of medication; neglecting to redress wounds; refusing to respond to a patient's request for assistance; inducing allergic responses due to feeding patients the wrong food; neglecting to record patient condition and observations of said condition.
- Causing injury to a patient by misuse of medical equipment: Operating medical equipment, no matter the size and complexity, is an essential skill that nurses must always have under control, otherwise, they pose a risk to patients. Injuries can be caused by nurses who use medical equipment haphazardly or (knowingly) with little experience. Injuries such as burns, bruises or wounds due to impact (from heavy equipment falling on the patient), or even foreign objects such as sponges being forgotten inside the patient from a surgical procedure are all grounds for a lawsuit.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against a nurse, make sure to get the right legal help to do so, as it can be difficult to determine the right individual to hold liable for the mistake. Be careful that you are filing based on evidence of misconduct and proof of harm to the patient as a direct consequence of said misconduct.