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Insight into Nursing Malpractice

by David Zevan on Nov. 17, 2014

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Wrongful Death 

Summary: Nursing malpractice happens when a nurse fails to perform medical duties competently and causes harm to the patient.

There are a variety of ways in which a nurse can cause harm to a patient, including administering wrong medicine or wrong dosage, or failure to monitor the condition of the patient. Victims are often confused as to who can be held liable for the nurse’s conduct- the doctor or the hospital?

Nursing Malpractice - When Does It Occur?

Failure to act - The moment a nurse realizes that the patient requires attention, it is her duty to administer the appropriate drug or call the doctor. Failure to speak or act when required can amount to malpractice.

Causing injury with equipment - If a nurse injures a patient with equipment such as by burning the patient with medical equipment or leaving something behind during the surgery, she will be liable for nursing malpractice.

Improper drug administration - A nurse will be held liable for malpractice if she administers wrong medication or wrong dosage of medication to the patient. Incorrect administration (administering the drug in the vein instead of the muscle) also amounts to malpractice.

Who Is Responsible?

The hospital may be held liable for the nurse’s actions if:

  • The nurse is an employee of the hospital.
  • The nurse was performing her duty at the time of the injury.
  • An independent doctor was not in control of the nurse.

If a doctor is supervising the nurse at the time the injury occurs, the hospital may not be held liable even though it is the employer of the nurse. In such cases, when the doctor is supervising the patient, liability is established by the following points:

  • Whether the doctor was present when the injury occurred.
  • Whether the doctor could have prevented the nurse’s negligence.

St. Louis Medical Malpractice Attorney

A medical expert may be asked to testify as to what a similarly qualified nurse would have done in the situation, and whether or not the injury was a result of nursing malpractice. Some states specify that the expert witness in a nursing malpractice case should be a nurse or someone trained in the specific medical field of concern. However, if the negligence is clearly evident in the case, testimony from an expert witness may not be needed.

Nursing malpractice cases are normally complicated, and no matter how obvious the medical negligence seems, you will need the services of experienced St. Louis medical malpractice attorney to litigate the case and get the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.

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