Healthcare is largely given by not the doctors, but by the supporting staff such as nurses, technicians, physician assistants, and other related staff. Almost all the time at a hospital emergency room, a nurse meets with and evaluates a patient before a doctor even gets close. Pre-surgery, nurses take the bulk of the prep work as most surgeons are working in several surgeries all at once or with a very tight timeframe.
Because of this, many times nurses can be the ones to make the first and often last error which results in serious injuries, medical malpractice, or the death of a patient. There are several instances when this can happen, and several scenarios which make this a serious problem. Some common examples include the following:
Failing to triage the patient properly in the emergency room - when a healthcare provider fails to properly triage a patient in the emergency room, it can result in delayed care and even wrongful death. When a patient comes into the emergency room, the EMS staff—if brought by ambulance—will notify the emergency room staff of the symptoms and impression. The nurse will then do a quick diagnostic to determine what is going on and help triage. If the nurse does an improper diagnostic, the symptoms of a very serious condition can result in the misclassification of a patient’s triage. For instance, if a nurse fails to recognize the signs of a heart attack and mis-triages it as just muscle pain or illness, a patient can die before a doctor even knows the patient is there.
Pre-surgery Blunders Can Kill - pre-surgery is an important time where everything must be checked, and checked twice. Patients needs to be properly prepped. If a patient is not properly prepped and the proper questions are not asked, such as when the patient ate last or if the patient has taken any medications lately, that can greatly affect the anesthesia and cause problems during surgery. Another thing pre-surgery is that a patient is usually given versed prior to surgery. This is a strong drug which is used to help calm a patient and is an important pre-drug. But administered improperly and it can easily kill a patient.
Miscommunications - A doctor may order certain medications for a patient, and may tell a nurse to just give a medication orally before it is written down in the computer as an order. This frequently occurs during emergencies, such as a stroke. A doctor could tell a nurse to give a certain amount of a clot buster medication, but the nurse could mishear and give way too much which could kill a patient, or not give enough and the stroke will not resolve. This could cause serious injuries or kill a patient.
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