Most people think medical malpractice is most commonly caused by doctor error. However, this isn’t always the case, as nurses are also responsible for medical mistakes.
Over the last decade or so, the media in the U.S. have had a field day when it comes to reports detailing the number of deaths each year attributed to medical errors. The numbers are in the millions for deaths and for medication mistakes. If that doesn’t throw up a few red flags, then I don’t know what will.
Medical malpractice or medication errors (med mal) isn’t within the exclusive domain of just doctors. Nurses have similar high standards to live up to when caring for patients, and for the most part they do their jobs with skill and precision. Unfortunately, things happen and a nurse may be negligent on the job causing an oversight that leads to an injury or death. This kind of a situation is usually referred to as nurse malpractice.
Nurse malpractice is on the rise, more so over these past few years than it was previously. Many pundits point fingers at the medical system and decry the deplorable shape it is in, citing shortages in manpower as being the major reason for nurse malpractice. Keep in mind that nurse malpractice isn’t something that is done on purpose. It happens for several reasons.
A nursing shortage isn’t really news, but what happens as a consequence of a shortage may be. For instance with fewer nurses on duty, staff works longer hours (sometimes over 12 hours and double shifts) and the error factor increases dramatically. Fatigue may be a killer in a nurse’s uniform. Thanks to the shortage of RNs, non-licensed Nurse’s aides are also hired to fill the duty rosters.
The most frequently seen nurse malpractice situations deal with nurses not following doctor’s orders, performing medical procedures without the proper qualifications, giving the wrong dose of medication to someone, or giving the wrong medicine to the wrong patient and not keeping a close enough watch on a patient that needs extra care.
In the cases that I have handled, the consequences of nurse malpractice have been organ damage, death, coma, infections, cardiac arrest and a toxic reaction to drugs. None of these cases were pretty and none of them happened on purpose. They happened because of a variety of factors. Nonetheless, if a patient has been harmed by nurse malpractice, they are entitled to take legal action.
Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.
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