Nursing Malpractice

Nursing malpractice is generally defined as negligence on behalf of a nursing professional that causes emotional or physical damage to a patient under his/her care. Any medical professional can be held accountable for medical malpractice. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the amount of nursing malpractice cases involving medication errors, documentation errors, or failure to intervene or assess, has risen in the last five years. Other cases of nursing malpractice include surgical mistakes ; negligence during child delivery ; failure to properly diagnose and treat an illness in a timely manner ; failure to note a significant change in patient condition or failure to notify the doctor of this change ; misuse of a medical device ; failure to get informed patient consent ; or any other negligence that causes injury or illness to a patient by not meeting the nursing standard of care.

A nursing malpractice case is brought by the patient/victim of nursing malpractice against the negligent nursing professional. There are four basic elements to a nursing malpractice case. First, it must be proven that the nurse failed to meet a basic standard of care when treating the patient. A standard of care is basically defined as care that a reasonable and careful nursing professional would have provided under the same circumstances. A victim of nursing malpractice must prove that this standard of care was not met, and that this led to the injury or illness that was suffered.

A patient- nurse relationship must also be established in a nursing malpractice case. This means that the nurse had assumed the responsibility to provide competent care to the patient. This responsibility is implied as a nurse accepts his/her assigned patients. The third element of a nursing malpractice case involves proving that the injuries or loss a victim sustained were a direct result of nursing malpractice. The last element of a nursing malpractice case is showing what damages were caused by the nursing malpractice. Damages in a nursing malpractice case can include: disability, pain and suffering, deformity, loss of wages, additional medical care and related expenses, and even death.

A victim of nursing malpractice has the legal right to seek compensation for all of these damages. In the case of death, a decedent's beneficiaries or dependants may file a nursing malpractice suit to seek compensation in a wrongful death case. The laws regarding nursing malpractice vary by state and circumstance. Most states have a statute of limitations requiring that a nursing malpractice claim must be filed within a certain period of time.

If you feel you might be eligible for a nursing malpractice case, you may wish to speak to a medical malpractice attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and options in a case. For more information on nursing malpractice, please contact us to confer with a qualified attorney.

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