Medical malpractice or medical negligence lawsuits typically target doctors, but a subset of these claims involves nursing errors. Nurses are often responsible for more hands-on care of patients, and they spend a larger percentage of their time attending to people than doctors do. More time engaging with more patients sometimes translates to an increased risk of nursing mistakes.
Most discussions of medical malpractice focus on mistakes or misdiagnoses made by physicians. Nursing negligence occurs when a nurse behaves in a way that a reasonable nurse in that situation would not have behaved, and a patient is harmed as a result. This negligence can occur in a doctor’s office, a hospital, or a nursing home.
Because nurses spend much more of their work shifts in direct contact with patients, they serve as the “eyes and ears” of doctors. It is critical that they record and interpret information correctly, double-check patient information, and review medication orders before administering them. Along with the many other tasks nurses must complete, urgent situations can arise that require them to problem-solve with little preparation.
Just as with medical malpractice cases involving doctors, nurses can be held liable for purposeful actions that cause harm. They may also face lawsuits for not taking action quickly enough, not taking the right action, or failing to act in a timely manner.
Every medical case is unique, and nurses often manage many cases simultaneously. This creates multiple situations in which nursing errors can occur. Medical equipment may be used improperly or may be faulty and lead to incorrect readings for a patient’s vital statistics such as blood pressure or heart rate. If a patient has mobility or stability issues, failing to protect them with proper fall precautions can result in broken bones or other injuries. Poorly communicated discharge instructions can cause nursing errors even after a patient leaves for home.
Despite the myriad ways errors can happen, there are some common ones that frequently appear in nursing malpractice cases. These include:
Nurses bear tremendous responsibility for ensuring medications are distributed correctly and on time to multiple patients in a short timeframe. They must verify patient identity and information, assimilate any new changes to the patient’s condition, and interpret updated physician notes every time they administer medicines.
Mistakes that can occur during the process of distributing drugs are:
In many nursing environments, understaffing combined with patient overload are recurring problems. A doctor is expected to manage hundreds of cases each day in hospitals and nursing homes and often has only a few minutes to speak with the nursing staff. A nurse may try to save time by interpreting a doctor’s written prescription without contacting them to verify the details. This decision could easily lead to illness or injury for a patient. Another communication problem can arise when nurses do not clearly share notes and updates from one shift to the next. Medical professionals are often fatigued after long, demanding hours and may only give brief patient summaries to incoming staff.
The likelihood of contracting a contagious disease in hospitals or other care facilities is very high. Viruses and bacteria are present in unusually large numbers in any medical setting, and strict cleaning protocols are required to prevent their spread. This can be especially dangerous for patients who are already ill, are immuno-compromised, or are recovering from injuries. Nursing staff travel all over the hospital as part of their job and can easily carry pathogens to every patient they visit. They must adhere precisely to cleanliness rules regarding hygiene and equipment sanitation to limit the spread of dangerous organisms.
Recent increases in infectious diseases and traumatic injuries means that the same nursing staff must continue to provide care for an increasing number of patients. Because most hospitals and medical facilities are run as for-profit businesses, the quality of patient care is often reduced in order to maintain the desired bottom line. While these reasons do not excuse mistakes, it is important to acknowledge that administrators often make decisions that put their staff at risk of committing serious nursing errors.
More people are entering long-term nursing or memory care homes in the US every year. These facilities are often understaffed or employ individuals who lack sufficient training. Because patients in these homes usually require round-the-clock care, nursing negligence can be widespread. Even when a patient remains at home, health aides who visit can be prone to making serious mistakes.
Some common instances of nursing negligence in these situations are:
Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove and requires familiarity with state laws governing liability, as well as knowledge of how to obtain evidence for a case. An experienced nursing errors attorney can provide guidance on available options and develop a plan for seeking justice.
Nursing errors can cause catastrophic injury or death, altering the lives of victims and their families. Patients can suffer disability or need aggressive treatment for conditions that result from someone else’s mistake. In these cases, patients may choose to seek compensation from individuals as well as institutions to cover the damages they face.
Nursing negligence is a form of medical malpractice and subject to the same strict burdens of proof. In cases of nursing negligence, hospitals are frequently named as defendants alongside nurses. If a doctor was present when a nurse made a mistake and the doctor did not correct it, they are also considered liable.
Proving liability for medical malpractice or nursing negligence cases is more challenging than for other claims. The medical industry lobbies state legislators to pass bills favoring practitioners over patients. Additionally, most people do not have access to the financial and legal resources that medical institutions possess.
Above all, the plaintiff and their attorney must prove the following:
It is important to draw a clear line between the nursing error and the patient’s damages. Part of this involves providing evidence of the accepted standard of care and how the caregiver strayed from it. This can be supported by maintaining a contemporaneous record illustrating the timeline of events and by presenting receipts for all related expenses.
A single mistake by a nurse can quickly cascade into a disastrous illness or death, leaving a family with emotional and financial burdens to bear. Pursuing compensation to provide for the victim’s care and loss can ease the stress of recovering. A qualified nursing errors attorney can help a victim recover recompense for damages such as:
Section 23-61.2 of the Oklahoma Statutes states that there is no upper limit for damages of an economic nature, such as medical bills or property loss. Awards for non-economic damages, such as mental anguish or pain and suffering, are limited to no more than $350,000. Victims must file within a 2-year window to be eligible for compensation.
My orthopedic doctor recommended Graves McLain, PLLC, to me following the need for revision hip surgery due to a hip from Stryker that was putting poison into my system. The doctor took care of the hip, and Graves McLain, PLLC, took care of the legal case. They were very thorough, professional, courteous, and always ready to answer the questions I had throughout the length of the case. In a word, the entire office is fantastic. I’m sure they were tired of my inquiries on the case’s progress, but they did not show it. They were always willing to respond and were very positive. If I ever have a claim in the future, they will be the first group to whom I reach out.
I have been working with chad McLain for two years. He has helped me get my case resolved in a professional, compassionate, and very smooth way. I wasn’t just a number in this lawsuit which included many others. This firm has made me feel like I was the only one. Amy Cox has also been amazing. She was always so very kind each time I contacted her with questions. Her character shines through, and I’m so thankful she was there for me. I would definitely suggest that anyone who might need a lawyer for a medical lawsuit to choose Graves McLain law firm.
I was referred to Graves McLain through an Uber passenger. I reached out and was connected with Miss Angela, who made me feel so comfortable. She was very upfront with everything and kept a very open line of communication. I got to work with Amy W. & Amy M., who were two fabulous ladies who helped wrap up my case. When I thought I would be screwed with trying to get somewhere with the insurance company, these ladies came to the rescue. Without a doubt, I would contact them again, and I will recommend them to others. Thanks again!
Graves McLain was there for us when we didn’t really know how to move forward with our Round Up claim. They worked very hard for us and kept us informed. Couldn’t of done this without them. Thank you Graves Mclain
I had 10/10 experience with Rachel and the team from Grave’s McLain. I had been feeling overwhelmed with medical bills from a car accident that wasn’t my fault, and the long list of things that had to be done that I had to figure out how to do myself. They put my mind at ease and handled everything perfectly. I’ll definitely use them again if the time comes!
Graves McLain Law Firm recently handled a difficult legal situation for our family. From the beginning, we were treated with respect and concern. The entire staff is top-knotch in the realm of customer care. Mr. McLain’s knowledge, experience, and counselling was reassuring as our case progressed to the best conclusion achievable. Anyone needing assistance with serious issue should contact Graves McLain….”Serious DOES matter to them!”
I am extremely pleased with how my case was handled at Graves McLain. I hired Chad after fighting with the insurance company for over a year. Feeling defeated and overwhelmed with medical bills, once my case was handled by my attorney, I felt at ease. Chad and his team were very responsive and kind. They answered all my questions and even helped me figure out lost wages based on a commission rate of pay. He was able to get maximum compensation and now I can get back to my life! I would 100% recommend Graves McLain time and time again.
My case just settled and I want to thank Rachel Gussman, Janet, Sonia, Emily, Amy, and Margo. This process was definitely a team effort. When I was involved in a car accident last year, I turned to my friend Rachel for guidance. I was thoroughly impressed with their skills, office staff professionalism and friendliness, communication, and of course, the end results. I highly recommend Graves McLain.
My experience with Graves McLain was first and foremost a top notch experience from beginning to end. Their expertise and professionalism was impressive and thorough. I was completely satisfied with their efforts. In two years I had not one but two accidents . They handled both so that I didn’t become a victim again by the insurance company. I’m satisfied and happy with their handling of both suits. I would highly recommend them if you find yourself a victim of an accident.
Thank You Graves McLain!
Graves McLain was so helpful, they communicated with me and gave me frequent updates. I highly recommend them.