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What is Nurse Malpractice?

When a nurse does not adequately conduct their medical tasks and you are harmed as a result, nurse malpractice has occurred. This can happen in a number of ways.

The leading question regarding nurse malpractice cases is who is held accountable for the nurses’ mistakes—the physician or the hospital. Regardless, the liable party must compensate you for the nurse’s mistake.

Nursing Malpractice

Nursing malpractice is similar to medical malpractice that involves physicians because it occurs when a nurse fails to fulfill their duties in a way that a generally competent nurse would in the same or a similar situation, and this negligence causes you to sustain injuries.

However, it is important to keep in mind that not all mistakes made by nurses warrant malpractice. In order for nurse malpractice to occur, the following elements must exist and be proved:

  • The nurse who harmed you owed you a duty of care.
  • There was a breach of the duty of care.
  • You sustained an actual injury as a result of the breach of duty.
  • You incurred damages due to the breach of duty.

Common Reasons for Nurse Malpractice

The following are some of the most common reasons why nurse malpractice occurs:

  • Failing to speak or act when it is required.
  • Harming you with equipment.
  • Administering medication improperly.

Failing to Speak or Act When it is Required

As you may know, nurses typically have the most interactions with you when you are a patient in a medical facility. If for some reason you have a sudden emergency, your nurse may be held accountable if they fail to adequately take the necessary steps right away.

In a similar fashion, your nurse must live up to a duty to monitor your condition while you are in their care. If the nurse notices or should notice something that may have the potential to cause harm, they may be responsible for malpractice for failing to alert the treating physician.

Harming You with Equipment

If a nurse hurts you with a form of medical equipment, it is considered nurse malpractice. This form of nurse malpractice can occur in a number of ways, including:

  • Knocking something heavy onto your body.
  • Burning you.
  • Failing to remove a sponge inside of you after a surgical procedure.

Administering Medication Improperly

Your nurse will likely give you medication that is aligned with a physician’s orders while you are in their care. However, if your nurse does not properly administer your medication and you are injured as a result, you may be able to hold them accountable for malpractice.

Similarly, a nurse may be held responsible for negligence if they fail to follow otherwise sound orders, such as injecting your medication into a muscle rather than a vein, or providing the wrong patient with your medication.

Liability for Nurse Malpractice

If you are hurt as a result of nurse malpractice, one of two parties is probably liable:

  • The hospital
  • The attending physician

The Hospital

The hospital where you received care may be legally and financially liable for nurse malpractice if the following are true:

  • The nurse was considered a hospital employee.
  • The nurse was conducting a work-related task when you were hurt, and
  • An independent physician (one not employed by the hospital) was not managing the nurse.

Most nurses tend to be hospital employees, which means hospitals are often liable in nurse malpractice cases.

The Attending Physician

If an attending physician is overseeing the nurse when you are injured, the hospital may not be held liable for your harm even though the nurse is their employee.

The nurse is under the physician’s control when the mistake happens if:

  • The doctor was present, and
  • The doctor was able to prevent the nurse’s error.

We Can Help You

If you’ve been hurt as a result of a nurse’s mistake, you may be owed compensation. Don’t delay—reach out right away to learn how we can help.

Contact our experienced attorneys at Cherundolo Law Firm, PLLC today by calling (315) 544-3332 or by filling out our online contact form.