Negligent acts and nursing malpractice exist, although authorities and medical organizations establish many rules to avoid them. Negligence in nursing occurs when the care services provided by a competent nurse does not meet high standards in the healthcare industry that lead to mental or physical harm for a patient (Nursing negligence claims, n.d.). Nursing malpractice results in legal actions against responsible medical executives based on specific liability elements that identified in the legislation (Cheluvappa & Selvendran, 2020). This paper will analyze the article by Croke (2006) and present medical professionals’ liability in different cases.
Primary Problems That Lead to the Nurse’s Malpractice
Several essential risks lead to the escalation of situations associated with nursing malpractice. They should be investigated against established liability elements, such as “improper supervision/delegation, early patient discharge, nursing shortage, hospital downsizing, increased autonomy, advanced technology, and better-informed consumers” (Croke, 2003, p.3). Croke identifies that there are primary problems where the liability of nurses lies. Such elements are a duty of patient care, breach of duty when the standard of care owed to a patient is unacceptable, foreseeability to avoid harm, and eliminate possible patient risks. Finally, there is a causation variable that “must show that the nurse’s breach in the standard of care resulted in the plaintiff’s injury and that these injuries were reasonably foreseeable” (Croke, 2006, p.4).
The negligence and nursing malpractice are assessed against types of damages and injuries done to the patient, including general, special, emotional, or punitive damages (Croke, 2006). In both case scenarios, the nurse played a significant role in the patients’ injuries. The first case scenario highlighted the patient’s death due to nurse actions; the second case showed that a nurse was reliable for the wrong site where the operation was performed on (Croke, 2006). In the case scenarios, nurses did not emphasize the patient’s safety as the priority and conduct relevant tests to identify needed intervention. Furthermore, the neglect of patient care prioritization has led to a significant injury that a nurse could avoid.
What Nurses Did Wrong in Case Scenarios
In the first scenario that has led to the patient’s death, the nurse did not apply proper actions to assess the patient’s state and help Mr. Floyd. The nurse Lunsford conducted a breach of duty because Lunsford failed to inform the physician about the patient’s medical status and cardiac condition that led to death (Croke, 2006). Nurse Lunsford also did not assign the patient to do an electrocardiogram to assess whether adverse consequences could be avoided. Considering the foreseeability element, it could also be said that the nurse could accept complications with the patient because she admitted that she was thinking of cardiac issues (Croke, 2006). As for the causation, the nurse’s actions and the lack of communication with the physician about Mr. Floyd’s condition have led to the patient’s death due to improper intervention.
In the second scenario, when Ms. Muskopf, as a patient, got the wrong side’s operation, namely the wrong hand, the nurse neglected essential rules that protect patients. The nurse breached the duty to inform a physician about the patient’s concerns about the surgical site (Croke, 2006). The nurse had to document the data about the talk with the doctor about the patient’s hesitation and worry about the surgery’s side. The hospital nurse could also foresee that the surgery’s wrong site will undoubtedly lead to the change in Ms. Muskopf’s condition (Croke, 2006). Finally, the nurse’s action breached the healthcare standard that led to the injury that could have been prevented and would not result in a lawsuit.
To conclude, one can say that it is essential for medical professionals to act according to established guidelines. The neglect of rules may result in nursing malpractice and significant injuries and damages for patients and risks for nurses. Therefore, it is crucial to adhere to the highest professional standards and comply with the legislation and foresee risky actions associated with patient care and medical operations.
Cheluvappa, R., & Selvendran, S. (2020). Medical negligence – Key cases and application of legislation. Annals of medicine and surgery (2012), 57, 205–211. Web.
Croke, E. (2006). Nursing malpractice: determining liability elements for negligent acts. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting, 17(3), 1-24. Web.
Nursing negligence claims. (n.d.). Leigh Day. Web.