Top Causes of Nursing Malpractice

If you are injured by a nurse’s negligence, you may have a case for medical malpractice. Nurses are increasingly named as defendants in medical malpractice suits.

Nursing malpractice occurs when a nurse does not perform his or her medical duties competently and, as a result, a patient is injured.  Just like malpractice involving doctors, not every nursing mistake amounts to malpractice.  Instead, nursing malpractice occurs when a nurse does not fulfill his or her duties in a way that a reasonably competent nurse in the same situation would have and this error results in harm to a patient.

The top causes of nursing malpractice are:

Improper administration of medication. This typically occurs in one of three ways ― administering the wrong dose of the right medication, administering the right medication too late or too early, or administering the wrong medication altogether.

Failure to notify physician. Another common cause of nursing malpractice suits is a nurse’s failure to notify the physician of clinical changes in the patient’s status or abnormal lab reports.  Nurses are the front line for a patient, so they are called upon to relay critical information to the doctor and can be liable when they fail to do so.

Injuring a patient with equipment. Nurses can be liable when they injure a patient with medical equipment.  This can occur in many ways, such as burning the patient or leaving medical equipment inside the body after surgery.

Miscommunication. A nurse might fail to communicate all relevant patient data to the treating physician. Sometimes, a nurse also fails to provide all pertinent discharge information to the patient upon release.

Failure to supervise patient. A failure to supervise patients can cause injuries, medication problems, and choking.

A key issue in nursing malpractice cases revolves around who is responsible for the nurse’s negligent acts — the hospital or the attending doctor?  As a result, injured patients are often able to tap into either the hospital’s or the doctor’s insurance policies.

If you’ve been the victim of nursing malpractice, consult with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney to help you understand your legal options.

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