Generally, when we think of medical malpractice, we think of a doctor or surgeon that made a mistake during a procedure. However, any medical professional has the potential to act negligently, including the nurses. Nurses often get overlooked in malpractice cases, but they play a vital role in ensuring that a patient is healthy. Here are four common examples of nursing malpractice.
Failure to Monitor
One of a nurse’s main jobs is to monitor their patient, keeping track of their condition and vitals throughout the duration of their stay. Even the smallest changes in conditions need to be reported on paper and to the physician that is responsible for that patient. These changes are crucial because they can affect things like medication dosages. If a nurse fails to properly monitor their patient and it leads to injuries or worsened conditions, they can be held accountable for nursing malpractice.
Another important task that nurses take on is administering medication to patients. This job is extremely important because even the smallest mistake in medication doses can be detrimental to a patient’s health. Not only is there the possibility of a dosage error, but there is also the chance that the patient is given the wrong medication entirely. Nursing malpractice occurs when these medication errors lead to injury. If the nurse doesn’t verify medication allergies, they can also be held responsible if they administer a medication that the patient is allergic to.
You often see nurses going in and out of hospital rooms to take a patient’s vitals, start their IV’s, put catheters in, or draw blood for tests and upcoming procedures. These are routine procedures that nurses perform multiple times a day, but that doesn’t mean an error can’t occur. Because they do these procedures so often, nurses may make a careless mistake because they aren’t even fully paying attention, leading to nursing malpractice.
While a nurse performs all of these tasks, they must record everything as well. While they are monitoring a patient or performing routine procedures, they must be precise in documenting details of the patient’s condition, including their vitals, medications, dosages, etc. If they fail to document these details or document them incorrectly, it can lead to further medical mistakes and potentially be detrimental to a patient.
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