Was it nursing negligence?

Nurses play a vital role in the care of a patient, from monitoring the patient’s condition to recognizing changes in his or her condition, responding to those changes as well as accurately reporting them.  A nurse should be an advocate for his or her patients, ensuring that all doctors’ orders are followed and properly discharged as well as responding to the medical needs of the individuals in his or her care.

Nursing negligence or malpractice occurs when a nurse fails to perform his or her medical duties in a competent manner that is expected of someone in his or her position.  In other words, standard procedures were not followed when providing the standard of care that is reasonable to expect from a nurse when caring for a patient in the same or similar circumstances.

There are many negligent actions that are the result of a failure to provide appropriate, regular care on the part of a nurse:

  • Failure to properly assess a patient’s condition including vital signs or BP
  • Failure to record vital information on a patient’s chart
  • Failure to follow a doctor’s orders
  • Misuse of a medical device or equipment
  • Medication or documentation errors
  • Failure to report changes in a patient’s health

In medical malpractice cases involving negligence on the part of a nurse, the question of who bears the responsibility for the negligent acts — the attending physician or the hospital — is a key issue.

Do you have a case?

A case against the hospital may be made in cases involving nursing negligence if:

  • The nurse is an employee of the hospital
  • He or she was fullfilling a job duty when the patient was injured
  • A doctor not employed by the hospital was not in charge of the nurse

Most nurses are employees of the hospital, so hospitals are often named as defendants in cases involving nursing negligence.

The attending physician may be found liable for the patient’s injuries if he or she was present when the negligent act(s) happened and whether the attending had control to prevent those acts.

A hospital could still be found to be liable for a nurse’s negligence if the attending physician gave improper orders which the nurse recognized as such, but followed them anyway.

Medical cases involving nursing negligence are often very complex, so it’s crucial that you hire an attorney that has experience and knowledge when it comes to handling medical malpractice cases.  An experienced malpractice attorney can help when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, investigating the incident in question and determining liability, arranging for expert medical testimony, and fighting on your behalf, whether it’s at the negotiating table or in court.

Speaking to an attorney

In any type of medical malpractice case, it’s the degree of negligence that determines the damages, economic as well as non-economic, that are awarded to the victim. In cases of gross negligence, the victim may also be awarded punitive damages.

Located in San Diego, Scott S. Harris, attorney for nursing negligence, has more than 30 years of experience handling medical malpractice claims, including those involving nursing negligence.  Contact our office to schedule an attorney consultation to discuss your case.