When we think of medical malpractice, we think of a doctor or surgeon’s mistakes resulting in medical malpractice. Or a hospital causing a patient very serious injuries due to a serious mistake. However, other healthcare professionals can also be liable for medical malpractice. In fact, one of the most common healthcare professionals to be sued for and liable for New York medical malpractice are nurses.
Nurses are the frontline warriors of healthcare, particularly at hospitals. They also vastly outnumber doctors and many other professionals in hospitals and most healthcare offices. This means that nurses are the eyes and ears of physicians, and are responsible for doing the bulk of the healthcare work. Most of the time this work is at the express direction of a physician, other times the work is part of the treatment plan or course of treatment. When nurses fail to carry out the proper treatment plan or course of treatment of a patient, they can be liable if it results in injuries to a patient which a reasonably prudent nurse would have avoided.
Many times this could be due to a miscommunication or communication error. This can result in very serious medical malpractice and is easily avoided. An example would be when the physician directs the nurse to administer 100 mg of ABC drug, but the nurse either mishears or accidentally administers 1000 mg or drug XYZ—or both 1000 mg and drug XYZ.
Other times this could be because the nurse was improperly trained to handle a certain situation which he or she has been placed into. For example, a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse is needed to cover the Labor and Delivery Department. This sounds like a reasonable substitution, but a NICU nurse may not be trained to monitor fetal monitoring strips. Or really be trained at all give assist an OB-GYN deliver a baby, as a NICU nurse handles nurses which are already born. This can result in very serious injuries to both the mother and the baby, even through the simplest of mistakes.
Nurses can also be liable for mistakes they make when they are performing their normal tasks. An example of this could be improperly moving a patient after a major surgery, such as a back surgery. Or the opposite in failing to regularly move a patient and check for bedsores or pressure ulcers, which can result in very serious injuries, infections, and even death.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.