Nurses are one of the most vital components of the medical system. They often have more contact and spend more time with patients, making these interactions some of the most valuable individuals can have while receiving medical care. Nurses perform demanding, critical roles requiring fast-paced decisions that can produce life-long impacts.
If medical care has resulted in health damages for you or a loved one, speak with knowledgeable Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers to determine if a nurse’s actions are a result of negligence or malpractice. The Snyder Law Group, LLC is a team you can rely on to navigate the issues of healthcare negligence or malpractice compassionately.
What are the Key Differences Between Nursing Negligence and Malpractice?
Not all unwanted health outcomes due to treatment constitute errors or negligence by nursing staff. Filing a lawsuit for personal injuries resulting from negligent care requires specific factors to have occurred. Malpractice is a form of negligence, and while they are similar, there are differences.
- Negligence results when a nurse fails to provide reasonable care due to oversight, inattentiveness, or ignorance. However, this lack of care provision does not occur intentionally and may be attributed to carelessness.
- Malpractice occurs when a nurse fails to meet the standard of care expected from individuals within a profession while being aware of their actions or lack of action and the potential outcome and continuing the behavior. Malpractice is a result of intentional actions.
The difficulty arises in proving intention. Understanding the difference between the two and documenting proof is challenging, but it is possible with the diligence of knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys in Maryland. Never postpone personal injury claims of medical malpractice because the risk of losing vital documentation is too significant.
Is Negligence and Malpractice a Serious Concern in Medical Care?
According to studies, medical errors are a significant concern in patient care. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) documented by the National Library of Medicine, medical errors may be responsible for over 250,000 deaths each year in the United States. And even more concerning is that reporting medical errors is estimated at less than 10%.
Medical practitioners in the United States commit significantly more medical errors than any other developed country in the world. It was documented that the prevention of medical errors required organizational changes and could not rely completely on self-reporting.
What are Examples of Nursing Negligence?
Continual vigilance concerning patient care is necessary to achieve an optimal outcome for the patient and the medical team as a whole. Negligence in nursing can lead to ripple effects throughout a patient’s care team, leading to improper care, misdiagnosis, the wrong treatment, and permanent injury. There are common behaviors that contribute to instances of negligence.
A Lack of Monitoring
During regular rounds, nurses can be the first individuals in a medical team to notice adverse changes in a patient’s health. Monitoring and observing vital changes in a patient’s health may be overlooked due to time restrictions, staffing shortages, or more critical matters demanding attention. A patient’s health may deteriorate, or complications can result due to improper monitoring resulting in negligence.
A lack of monitoring can cause a failure to notice abnormalities leading to inadequate documentation and a failure to report. An absence of these procedures can be an oversight or misjudgment but can lead to critical injuries.
Improper monitoring can also create poor hygiene. Failing to turn patients increases the chances of bedsores, creating additional damages such as sepsis, cellulitis, infection reaching the bones and joints, and even skin cancer. Alert patients may be more able to notify nurses of warning signs if they notice them, and these patients may also note the lack of monitoring throughout a hospital stay or doctor’s visit.
Slow Response to a Patient
A slow response to an alert initiated by a patient can lead to negligence when this delay results in injury or harm, such as a patient falling. Nurses are often expected to be everywhere all at once, requiring the ability to discern what situations need immediate attention. A nurse may have misunderstood, thinking another nurse was responding to the call, or missed the call because of demands on their attention.
Dispensing the Wrong Medication or Dosage
Most patients in a hospital environment are on multiple medication regimens to treat various health conditions. Verifying the medication is correct and being aware of correct dosing can be challenging, particularly when both brand names and generic names for medications are used interchangeably from doctor to chart to pharmacy, but failing to prevent medication errors that result in injury is negligence. Any of these acts of negligence can be classified as malpractice when they are overlooked or covered up to prevent the discovery of the action and its consequences. Negligence results from unintentional acts or oversights that can lead to harm.
What are some examples of Nursing Malpractice?
The Snyder Law Group, LLC provides compassionate guidance for overwhelmed, disheartened patients when acts of medical negligence change their lives. Our attorneys believe every individual deserves unwavering support in their legal journey to justice. Malpractice cases are especially devastating because a course of action could have lessened or prevented severe damage.
The examples of medical negligence, when resulting in severe harm to the patient or continuance after realizing the dangers to a patient, may result in nursing malpractice. For example, a nurse may dispense the wrong medication dosage multiple times, causing unnecessary risk to patients. The nurse is made aware of or admits the errors, the actions are documented, and methods to prevent medication errors are explained.
Failure to change the course of behavior resulting in a patient’s physical injury or economic damage can result in medical malpractice.
Surgical teams and nurses must perform specific procedures, such as sterilization of medical equipment and tools, before surgery. With surgical teams often operating on tight schedules, standard sterilization procedures may be omitted because of time shortages. Within days, a patient exposed to contaminated surgical equipment develops an infection resulting in a serious injury, such as the amputation of a limb.
Failure to follow the standard of care of sterilizing the instruments practiced by other professionals in the same field results in serious harm to a patient and is the result of a knowledgeable act of negligence. The same effect can occur with a failure to properly administer wound care when a patient’s orders specify a wound care treatment plan. If a nurse knowingly neglects treatment or the standard procedures for wound cleaning are not performed, resulting in injuries to the patient, such as amputation or severe sepsis that produces organ damage, medical malpractice can result.
The Snyder Law Group, LLC: Fighting Back Against Medical Negligence and Malpractice
If medical negligence results in physical, emotional, or financial damages to you or someone you know, reach out to the medical malpractice attorneys in Baltimore at The Snyder Law Group, LLC. Unintended acts leading to medical negligence or medical care practiced outside of the standard of care for nurses resulting in malpractice should be addressed with legal action to compensate those who have suffered unnecessarily. Contact The Snyder Law Group, LLC online or at (410) 604-8717 for a free case evaluation.