Every year, nearly a quarter of a million Americans die due to medical errors. While many of these are honest mistakes made by doctors and nurses simply trying their best, some of them are grievous errors that should have never occurred.
Today, we’ll examine malpractice and negligence in the world of nursing, including what negligence is and what makes something malpractice. Furthermore, we’ll tell you the steps you can take if you believe you’ve been a victim of malpractice and are in need of a Columbia nursing home abuse lawyer.
Negligence or Malpractice?
Negligence is an injury to a patient as a result of carelessness or an accident, whereas malpractice is much more severe. In cases of malpractice, it is evident that the nurse or doctor should have known better and they demonstrated a disregard for patient safety and an unwillingness to follow established medical procedures.
Examples of Nursing Malpractice
Malpractice for doctors is different from malpractice for nurses; establishing whether it’s the fault of the doctor or nurse can be nuanced. The doctor’s job is to prescribe a treatment for the patient, and it is the nurse’s job to care for the patient and carry out the doctor’s treatment plan while the patient is in the medical care facility.
Say a doctor prescribes medication to a patient and the nurse administers that medication according to the doctor’s orders. If the patient dies because of the medication, it’s most likely the doctor who is at fault. The nurse was simply following the doctor’s orders in this case, and is not an expert in pharmacology, so they cannot be expected to know every potential drug interaction with the thousands of drugs that exist—that’s the responsibility of the doctor.
Here are some examples of malpractice on the part of the nurse:
- The doctor has prescribed a medication to be taken every four hours by mouth. The nurse administers the meds after six hours instead of four. As a result, the patient’s condition worsens and they require extensive additional care.
- A nurse is making their rounds bathing bed-ridden patients, and fails to turn the patients over and clean their backs and bedding. This leads to a bed sore that becomes a deadly infection.
- The nurse injects twice the recommended dosage of medication into the patient’s IV. As a result, the patient has a heart attack and ends up needing open heart surgery to repair the damage. Upon investigation, the nurse fails a drug test for methamphetamine.
Malpractice in Nursing Facilities
With the age of baby boomers continuing to rise, many Americans are spending their final months or years in a nursing facility. These facilities are often run by corporations seeking to squeeze every penny of profitability out of every care center they operate. This leads to overworked nurses, short-staffed doctors, and neglect of care for the patients. In certain instances, the medical facility that employs the nurse may be partially or fully at fault for not maintaining adequate staffing and standards of care for their patients.
What to Do if You Believe You’re a Victim of Malpractice
Whether it’s negligence or malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering or the death of a loved one. If you believe you’ve been a victim of negligence or malpractice, you should consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney, such as those at Strom Law Firm, as soon as possible so they can begin assisting you in obtaining the compensation that you deserve.
Looking for examples of negligence in nursing, instead? Take a look at our recent article.