Nursing Malpractice: What It Is, and Who Is Liable
Malpractice by a nurse does not include just any error on that medical professional’s part. And even if a nurse has committed malpractice, and not just a slip-up, you not be able to sue the nurse. Depending on the circumstances, either the hospital or the doctor would be on the hook for providing compensation to anyone injured by this negligence. Read on to learn more about these type of claims and when they can occur.
First of all, what exactly is nursing malpractice? It is an error so serious that no reasonably competent nurse would have done the same thing under those circumstances. For example, a nurse is monitoring a patient who experiences a medical emergency, and the nurse fails to call in the doctor. This would be deemed malpractice if a competent nurse would have notified the doctor in that event. So inaction can be the basis for a malpractice claim.
Then there are times when a nurse can be faulted for hurting a patient with medical equipment or by giving them the wrong medicine. This could mean a nurse dropping a sharp device on the patient or injecting a muscle and not a vein.
How can you tell if a mistake is malpractice or not? This will almost always be determined by a medical expert, someone who has the experience and knowledge to say how a competent nurse would have acted in that situation. But there are some cases where no expert is necessary, such as if a nurse gave medication to the wrong patient. It is blatant negligence.
Usually speaking, a hospital will be liable for a nurse’s malpractice. This is because a nurse is an employee of the hospital. That being said, if a doctor was involved and could have counteracted the malpractice, then a doctor would usually be the one held liable; doctors are usually independent contractors, and not hospital employees.
So if a nurse injects the wrong patient with heavy medication, but a doctor was not there at the time, the hospital would be held responsible. But if a nurse miscounts the number of sponges, leading a surgeon to sew up a patient with a sponge still inside, then the doctor would be liable for this malpractice.
Of course, as clear cut as some cases of medical malpractice appear, the legal process can be far from straightforward. This is a case that will usually require the testimony of medical experts, and the ability of legal experts to craft the whole case. If you believe that you or a loved one have suffered from malpractice, then contact the Whitley Law Firm today to see how strong your case is. Work with a dedicated Raleigh personal injury lawyer before your case expires!